A consensus paper is being published online by the American Academy of Periodontology and the American Journal of Cardiology. In the paper the two societies make the following recommendations:
- Patients with periodontitis who have 1 known major atherosclerotic CVD risk factor such as smoking, immediate family history for CVD, or history of dyslipidemia should consider a medical evaluation if they have not done so within the past 12 months.
- A periodontal evaluation should be considered in patients with atherosclerotic CVD who have: signs or symptoms of gingival disease; significant tooth loss, and unexplained elevation of hs-CRP or other inflammatory biomarkers.
- A periodontal evaluation of patients with atherosclerotic CVD should include a comprehensive examination of periodontal tissues, as assessed by visual signs of inflammation and bleeding on probing; loss of connective tissue attachment detected by periodontal probing measurements; and bone loss assessed radiographically. If patients have untreated or uncontrolled periodontitis, they should be treated with a focus on reducing and controlling the bacterial accumulations and eliminating inflammation.
- When periodontitis is newly diagnosed in patients with atherosclerotic CVD, periodontists and physicians managing patients' CVD should closely collaborate in order to optimize CVD risk reduction and periodontal care.
I am very interested in following the science behind this association. Is the relationship between heart disease and periodontal disease a causal one (does one disease truly cause the other disease) or a casual one ( is it just that patients with one disease are more likely to have the other disease too).
I will keep you updated as more research is reported.