Periodontitis linked with increased risk for CVD and diabetes
The authors of an expert report published in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion conclude that current evidence suggests periodontitis (a chronic inflammatory disease of the gums) is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.
Primary care practitioners are encouraged within the report to educate their patients about the importance of maintaining a healthy mouth for conferring potential public health benefits.
Dr Roger Gadsby a leading UK GP from Warwickshire and one of the report's authors said: "With diabetes on the increase, every effort should be taken to ensure that people with diabetes take every step to effectively manage their diabetes to reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular complications. Maintaining good oral health may be an additional part of reducing this risk."
"We have known for years that patients with CVD and diabetes are much more likely to present with gum disease," commented Mark Davis, a GP and occupational physician with a special clinical interest in cardiology from Leeds, and one of the authors of the report. "I am pleased that the link is being recognised by healthcare professionals in the UK. It is now time to take action to confirm the importance of this link and to educate patients about the importance of good oral health."
The infectious and inflammatory burden of chronic periodontitis (which affects not only the gums, but also the ligament and bone holding the teeth in place) is thought to have an important systemic impact on overall health. The exact reasons are unknown, but may be the result of oral bacteria entering the bloodstream and/or the systemic inflammatory reaction produced in response to the oral bacteria. Further research to determine the inflammatory pathophysiology of periodontitis, CVD and diabetes and the oral bacteria cascade, should identify potential links between the conditions.