Genetic link between gum disease, heart attack

May 26, 2009 The association between periodontitis and coronary heart disease has been known for years. But a genetic link between the conditions had not been confirmed.

A team of German scientists found that the two diseases share a genetic variant on chromosome-9. They looked at 151 patients who suffered from aggressive gum disease and 1,000 patients who had already had a heart attack. They found that the genetic variation associated with the clinical pictures of both diseases was identical.

Scientists explain that dentists should identify and treat periodontitis early to minimize the risk of heart disease.

The study was presented Monday at the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics in Austria.

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