Periodontal Disease and Coronary Heart Disease.




Archives of Internal Medicine

Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Periodontal Disease
Professional Data: Periodontal Disease


Gingivitis and periodontitis are diseases associated with accumulation of bacterial plaque. This plaque may become mineralized and harden. We all know that this can be prevented by appropriate oral hygiene, including tooth brushing, flossing, and use of antibacterial mouth rinses. Acute and chronic inflammation of the gingiva can be caused by irritation and also by the invasion of bacteria.

The most common form of periodontal disease begins as an inflammation of the gingiva and is known as gingivitis. It is generally painless, however gums may bleed upon brushing. As the disease spreads, it deepens and actually involves the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. When this happens the ligament that attaches the tooth to the bone is lost. After that the soft tissue separates from the tooth surface causing a pocket with bleeding upon probing and chewing. Occasionally, an acute inflammation occurs, with the production of pus and the formation of a periodontal abscess. Ultimately, tooth extraction may become necessary if extreme bone loss, tooth mobility, and recurrent abscesses occur. Periodontal infections usually localize in oral soft tissue and very seldom spread into deeper structures of the face and neck.

A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that any source of chronic inflammation is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Researchers investigated periodontal disease to determine the related association with coronary heart disease (CHD). A total of 789 participants were recruited, 263 cases of confirmed CHD, and 526 matched, healthy subjects. All subjects were tested for several oral pathogens. Using the Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Needs, individual treatment needs were assessed. The results showed that there was an association between periodontal pathogens, especially A actinomycetemcomitans and coronary heart disease. The authors concluded that their findings found a link between the two diseases.1


1. Spahr A, et al. Periodontal Infections and Coronary Heart Disease. Arch Intern Med. Mar 2006;166:554-559.