Representatives of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the World Heart Federation (WHF) met in Madrid on February 18th and 19th at the 2019 Perio & Cardio Workshop, to discuss the relationship between oral and cardiovascular diseases. The aim of the meeting, sponsored by DENTAID, was to draw conclusions and recommendations for both oral and heart healthcare professionals and for patients.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, while severe periodontitis is the sixth most common chronic condition. Professor Mariano Sanz, Chairman of the EFP meeting assures us that “These two diseases affect many people across the globe, and one of the goals of this Workshop is to describe how periodontal health can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease”.
Four major areas were discussed in the Workshop:
- Epidemiological evidence that links periodontitis and cardiovascular disease.
- Biological mechanisms that show the increased risk of atherosclerosis in patients with periodontitis.
- The effect of periodontal treatment on the risk of atherosclerosis.
- The possible cardiovascular risks of oral interventions.
There is a large amount of scientific evidence linking periodontitis and cardiovascular disease. Patients with severe periodontitis are at greater risk of undergoing a heart attack or stroke, especially if they have previously suffered from cardiovascular disease. For example, bacteria in the mouth promote the development of atherosclerotic plaques; severe periodontitis can worsen inflammation in the entire body, which increases the severity of atherosclerotic plaques, and this can block or reduce arterial blood flow both in the heart and in other parts of the body.
“There is ample evidence that periodontal treatment reduces systemic inflammation and other factors indirectly associated with the development of atherosclerosis,” according to Professor Sanz, who added, “we hope to reach a consensus on the value of periodontal health in the reduction of cardiovascular risk, especially in patients who have already suffered a cardiovascular event”.
Professor Pablo Perel, Scientific Advisor of the WHF, assures us that, “The prevention of cardiovascular disease is one of the main objectives of the WHF. We hope to participate in this important workshop and contribute with evidence-based recommendations in relation to cardiovascular health and periodontology. Prevention is a neglected area in the field of cardiovascular disease, and we will communicate the recommendations from the Workshop to our members around the world”.
Meanwhile, Dr Xavier Calvo, periodontist and Medical Advisor of DENTAID, has indicated that, “Most importantly, periodontal disease can be prevented mostly through good daily oral hygiene habits and regular periodontal examinations in the dental clinic. Eliminating this risk factor could bring about a substantial improvement in the management of patients, both at risk of cardiovascular disease, and those who have already been affected by it”.