Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Risk

In a post many years ago I discussed Patients With Moderate To Severe Periodontitis Need to Be Evaluated For Cardiovascular Problems. In a new study, periodontal disease has again been looked at as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

In the study conducted, more than 15,000 patients with chronic coronary heart disease gave information on their dental health with results showing periodontal disease indicators were common. The study included self reported dental health information from the STABILITY trial, a clinical trial with 15,828 participants from 39 countries all with chronic coronary heart disease and a risk of cardiovascular disease.  All study participants had a physical exam and blood work up, and completed a lifestyle questionnaire. They reported their remaining number of teeth and frequency of gum bleeding.

The results indicated a high prevalence of tooth loss with 16% reporting having no teeth and 41% reporting having less than 15 teeth. Around one-quarter of the patients reported gum bleeding when using a toothbrush. Almost 70% of study participants were current or former smokers.

It was shown by statistical analysis that increasing prevalence of tooth loss was significantly associated with higher waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol levels, and fasting glucose levels. A higher prevalence of gum bleeding was significantly associated with higher LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure.

The authors say this is the largest study to assess dental disease in coronary patients and demonstrates a burden of cardiovascular disease risk factors and higher levels of biomarkers for those with more tooth loss and gum bleeding. Smoking and lower educational levels were associated with periodontal disease.

It is still a matter of debate as to whether periodontal disease is a risk factor for coronary heart disease. The current study shows an association but this does not mean causation. Age and smoking are risk factors for periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. This study shows that periodontal disease and socioeconomic status are related.

Source: O. Vedin, and et al. Periodontal disease in patients with chronic coronary heart disease: Prevalence and association with cardiovascular risk factors. European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, 2014.

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