Main Article Content
Periodontal Diseases, Infections, Vardiovascular Diseases
The recent focus on the potential link between periodontal and cardiovascular disease (PD and CVD) is part of the larger renewed interest on the role of infection and inflammation in the etiology of atherosclerosis and its clinical manifestations. Periodontal Disease is an inflammatory process affecting the periodontium, the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth . The process usually starts with an inflammatory process of the gum (gingivitis) but it may progress with an extensive involvement of the gum, as well as the periodontal ligament and the bone surrounding the teeth resulting in substantial bone loss. Periodontal disease is a common oral pathological condition in the adult age and represents the leading cause of tooth loss. PD prevalence increases with age and there are estimates that up to 49,000,000 Americans may suffer from some form of gum disease. The gingival plaque associated with PD is colonized by a number of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria that have been shown to affect the initiation and development of PD and have been associated with the potential etiological role of PD in CVD and other chronic conditions. A potential etiological link between PD and CVD may have important public health implications as both the exposure (PD) and the outcomes (CVD) are highly prevalent in industrialized societies. In situations in which both the exposure and the outcome are highly prevalent even modest associations, like those observed in the studies reporting on the link between PD and CVD outcomes, may have relevance. There are not definite data on the effect of periodontal treatment on CVD clinical outcomes (either in primary or secondary prevention) however it should be pointed out that the limited (both in terms of numbers and study design) experimental evidence in humans suggests a possible beneficial effect of periodontal treatment of indices of functional and structural vascular health.