Health: Gums link to heart disease

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The Independent Online
People with diseased gums may be more prone to heart disease - and not just because poor gums indicate a poor diet. A study published in the British Dental Journal suggests that there may be a direct causal link between gum disease and heart disease.

Evidence of the link appears to be strongest in men aged 40 to 50 and could put poor oral health as a significant risk factor alongside smoking and a fatty diet.

The most likely explanation for the link is that bacteria produced as a result of gum disease have an effect on clotting mechanisms in the blood which increase the risk of heart disease. However, 95 per cent of adults in the UK have some form of gum disease. The authors suggest that some people have an over-reactive natural body defence system which makes them more sensitive to the effects of the bacteria. However, they stress that the jury is still out although "the pile of circumstantial evidence is mounting".

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