Dentists should warn patients: periodontitis increases risk of stroke
Campaign highlights links between gum and cardiovascular diseases
Patients with gum disease should be told that they have a higher risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases – including myocardial infarction and stroke – and that they should actively manage risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, excess weight, blood pressure, and a diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars.
Those 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.
These are among the key messages of the Perio & Cardio educational campaign by the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the World Heart Federation (WHF). This global initiative is centred on the perioandcardio.efp.org site, which contains recommendation documents, infographics, an animated film, and other educational materials – all aimed at bringing this knowledge to the dental team, cardiologists, medical professionals, pharmacists, and the public.
Perio & Cardio is based on a new evidence-based scientific consensus on the links between periodontal and cardiovascular diseases and expert recommendations on prevention and therapy for both types of disease.
All the material in the campaign derives from the consensus report Periodontitis and cardiovascular disease – published in February by the EFP’s Journal of Clinical Periodontology – which expressed the findings of the Perio-Cardio Workshop, held in Madrid last year, which brought together 20 world-leading experts in the fields of periodontology and cardiology.
“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,” said Filippo Graziani, a former EFP president and co-ordinator of the Perio & Cardio campaign.
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 per cent, and its severe form affects 11.2per cent 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 per cent of all deaths), with ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and hypertension leading to heart failure as the main causes. Although mortality rates are falling, the absolute numbers have increased over the last 25 years because of an ageing population.
“Most people are dangerously unaware of the increased risk of heart disease associated with poor periodontal health,” said Jean-Luc Eiselé, chief executive of the World Heart Federation. “This project aims to raise awareness of this important link not just among the general public, but also among nurses, dentists, cardiologists and other medical professionals who play a key role in managing heart disease risk factors among their patients. We are proud to be joining forces with the European Federation of Periodontology to shine a light on this important issue.”
The Perio & Cardio campaign, like the Perio-Cardio Workshop, is sponsored by the charity Dentaid, an EFP partner.