European Federation of Periodontology

Dental and heart experts set to publish joint recommendations

  • People with severe periodontitis are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Periodontal treatment reduces inflammation and other factors leading to atherosclerosis
  • Dental and heart experts are set to publish joint recommendations for medical and oral health professionals and patients. The advice was agreed by representatives from the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and World Heart Federation (WHF) at the Perio & Cardio Workshop 2019, held last week in Madrid, Spain.

    Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, while severe periodontitis is the sixth most common chronic condition. Prof Mariano Sanz, EFP Chair of the event, said: “Both diseases affect many people worldwide, and the meeting aims to outline how periodontal health may reduce cardiovascular risk.

    There is a wealth of scientific evidence linking periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases. People with severe periodontitis are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke, particularly if they have had a previous cardiovascular event. Bacteria in the mouth promote the development of atherosclerotic plaques. In addition, severe periodontitis leads to inflammation throughout the body, which increases the severity of atherosclerotic plaques, thereby blocking or reducing arterial blood flow.

    Workshop participants discussed four key areas:

    Epidemiological evidence linking periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases;

    Biological mechanisms for the increased risk of atherosclerosis in patients with periodontitis;

    The effect of periodontal treatment on the risk of atherosclerosis;

    The potential cardiovascular risks of oral interventions.

    The subsequent EFP and WHF consensus article will be published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, and a project will be developed to disseminate these recommendations to oral healthcare professionals, cardiologists, physicians, pharmacists, researchers, media, patients, and the public.

    Prof Sanz said: “There is ample evidence that periodontal treatment reduces systemic inflammation and other factors indirectly associated with the development of atherosclerosis. We hope to reach a consensus on the value of periodontal health in reducing cardiovascular risk, particularly in patients who have already had a cardiovascular event.

    Professor Pablo Perel, WHF senior science adviser, said: “Prevention of cardiovascular disease is one of the WHF’s main goals. We look forward to participating in this important workshop and contributing to evidence-based recommendations in relation to cardiovascular health and periodontology. Prevention is a neglected area of cardiovascular disease and we will communicate the workshop recommendations to our members around the world.

    About the EFP

    The European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) is an umbrella organisation of 30 national scientific societies devoted to promoting research, education and awareness of periodontal science and practice. It represents more than 14,000 periodontists and gum-health professionals from Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East.

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