San Diego Conference focuses on the Oral-Systemic Health Connection
Inflammation a common link
Periodontal disease and heart disease share some of the same major risk factors namely smoking and diabetes. While this has made it challenging for researchers to determine a causal link between the two diseases, it is well-established that these two conditions are associated with one another; occurring together more frequently than by simple chance.
The common link between periodontal disease and heart disease appears to be uncontrolled, chronic inflammation. The same pro-inflammatory cytokines that are produced in periodontal disease have also been linked to cardiovascular disease. Importantly, periodontal inflammation has been shown to produce both a local and systemic cytokine response.
What does this mean for our patients? Those with periodontal disease who have two or more risk factors for CVD should be referred to their physician. Risk factors may include: smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, obesity, or family history. In people with newly diagnosed periodontitis, a medical exam may be recommended if they patient has not had one recently.
- Freire MO, Van Dyke TE. 2014. The mechanisms behind oral-systemic interactions. In M Glick (Ed). The Oral-Systemic Health Connection A Guide to Patient Care. Chicago: Quintessence Publishing Co, Inc.