The professional blog of Doctors Dan Bruce, Steve Bruce, Rosa Pothier and Rob Ririe
Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease
Dr. Dan Bruce - February 01, 2008
Over the past few years there has been a lot of information in the news reporting the link between periodontal disease, tooth loss and cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease refers to the hardening of the arteries and can result in heart attack or stroke.
The current evidence seems to point to a relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, although that link is far from certain and conflicting reports are present. On one hand research from the National Institutes of Health-founded INVEST (Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study) at Columbia, the University of Minnesota and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-funded Northern Manhattan Study showed that bacteria specific to periodontal disease where found in higher concentrations in artherosclerotic arteries than normal arteries. Also, according to a report in the December 2005 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, a study "shows a progressive association between tooth loss and cardiovascular disease, even among nonsmokers (http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=1735)."
Although these studies give us good information, they are not definitive. Another factor in both heart disease and periodontal disease is smoking. The evidence for this is much more accepted.
The good news for people who have periodontal disease due to smoking or other reasons is that it is a disease that can be treated by regular visits to your dentist and good oral hygiene. Once you have periodontal disease, you always have periodontal disease. It can be very well controlled with proper brushing, flossing, cleaning and other adjunctive methods, but it is always there. That said, we have a number of patients who are committed to keeping their teeth, even if they are in bad condition.
All information was found on the ADA website in the section on periodontal disease (http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/topics/gum.asp#adanews). If you want to know more about periodontal disease, please see the ADA patient website on periodontal disease-- http://www.ada.org/public/topics/periodontal_diseases.asp.