Gum Diesease, Heart Disease Share Genetic Link

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A genetic link between gum disease and heart disease has been discovered by German scientists. The association between gum disease and coronary heart disease has been known for years, but a genetic link between the conditions hadn't been confirmed. The University of Kiel team found that the two diseases share a genetic variant on chromosome 9. The genetic variation associated with the clinical pictures of both disease were identical.

The study was presented May 25 at the annual ESHG conference, in Vienna, Austria. Because of the link between periodontitis and CHD, "we think that periodontitis should be taken very seriously by dentists and diagnosed and treated as early as possible," Dr. Arne Schaefer said. He noted that periodontitis and CHD share risk factors such as smoking, diabetes and obesity.

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