Perio & Cardio campaign highlights links between gum and cardiovascular diseases
Patients who suffer from both periodontitis and cardiovascular disease may have a higher risk of cardiovascular complications and should carefully follow recommended dental regimes of prevention, treatment, and maintenance.
Perio & Cardio. A consensus report ‘Periodontitis and cardiovascular disease’ – published in February 2021 in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology documented the findings of the Perio-Cardio Workshop, which was held in Madrid in 2019, and brought together 20 world-leading experts in the fields of periodontology and cardiology. https://www.efp.org/news-events/perio-workshop/past-workshops/perio-cardio-workshop/
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) involve the heart or the blood vessels and include ischaemic heart disease, stroke, hypertension, rheumatic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and atrial fibrillation
Both cardiovascular and gum diseases are widespread chronic, non-communicable diseases.
Periodontitis, the most frequent gum disease, has an overall global prevalence of 45-50%, and its severe form affects 11.2% of the world’s population, making it the sixth most common human condition.
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 17.9 million deaths per year worldwide (one third of all deaths), including 3.9 million in Europe (45% of all deaths), Although mortality rates are falling, the absolute numbers have increased over the last 25 years because of an ageing population
Is there a link between the two?
Some of the risk factors for periodontitis and CVD are the same. Furthermore gum disease may make it harder to prevent CVD and it may even aggravate CVD in patients who already have the disease.
The main risk factors for CVD include
- High blood pressure
- High levels of cholesterol or triglycerides
- Altered glucose metabolism
Can we prevent CVD?
There is evidence that periodontal treatment and good oral hygiene help prevent CVD.
For instance, patients who brush their teeth twice a day and have a good oral-health routine may have less risk of acute CVD events.
Simple lifestyle changes can also reduce risks, such as
- giving up smoking
- Eating healthy food
- Taking regular exercise
I have CVD. What should I do?
If you have CVD, you should
- Look out of signs of gum disease such as swollen gums, bleeding gums, longer-looking teeth, or loose teeth. If you notice any of these signs, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible.
- Attend regular dental check-ups (at least twice a year) as part of managing your CVD.
- Inform your dentist about the outcome of your visits to your doctor/cardiologist and provide updates on your CVD history and any changes in your medications.
- Also inform your dentist if you are taking anti-coagulant medication
- Adopt a good daily routine for cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Brush at least twice a day, for at least two minutes, using a manual or an electric toothbrush.
- Clean between teeth using interdental brushes and dental floss if the gaps are too small for brushes.
- Use specific toothpastes and/or mouth rinses if your dentist or dental hygienist recommends them. https://youtu.be/knXCaUZ0ry8
“Perio & Cardio is particularly important because it outlines the robust links between oral and systemic health, and also highlights that by safeguarding our gum health we are actively contributing to our heart and cardiovascular health,” says Filippo Graziani, a former EFP president and coordinator of the Perio & Cardio campaign.
“Most people are dangerously unaware of the increased risk of heart disease associated with poor periodontal health,” explains Jean-Luc Eiselé, CEO, World Heart Federation.