Patients with gum disease should be told that they have a higher risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction and stroke, according to the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the World Heart Federation (WHF).
The organizations also say that dentists should advise these patients to actively manage risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, excess weight, blood pressure, and diets high in saturated fats and refined sugars.
Further, the EFP and WHF said, patients who suffer from both periodontitis and cardiovascular disease may have a higher risk of cardiovascular complications and should carefully follow recommended regimes of prevention, treatment, and maintenance.
Together, the EFP and WHF have teamed up to launch the Perio & Cardio educational campaign, which includes documents, infographics, an animated film, and other materials to bring these recommendations 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, the EFP and WHF said.
The campaign derived its material from “Periodontitis and Cardiovascular Disease,” which expressed the findings of the Perio-Cardio Workshop held in Madrid in 2019. The workshop brought together 20 experts in periodontology and cardiology, the EFP and WHF said.
“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 coordinator of the Perio & Cardio campaign.
Cardiovascular and gum diseases both are widespread, non-communicable diseases, the EFP and WHF said.
Periodontitis, the most common gum disease, has an overall global prevalence of 45% to 50%, and its severe form affects 11.2% of the world’s population, making it the sixth most common human health condition.
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 17.9 million deaths per year worldwide, or a third of all deaths, including 3.9 million in Europe, or 45% of all deaths there. Ischemic heart disease, stroke, and hypertension leading to heart failure are the main causes. Although mortality rates are falling, absolute numbers have increased over the past 25 years because of an aging population.
“Perio & Cardio implies a mutual endorsement by two major global organizations, the EFP and WHF,” said Graziani.
“We really appreciate that WHF did not only reach the scientific consensus with us but is also taking an active role in disseminating the project materials among the global community of cardiologists and cardio patients,” said Graziani.
“I’m also deeply grateful to professor Mariano Sanz, who organized the Perio-Cardio workshop in Madrid, and to all members of the EFP’s project committee, who worked hard in helping to process this scientific information into suitable material for our medical colleagues and the population,” Graziani said.
“Partnering with WHF for this joint project is a qualitative step forward for us, given WHF’s leadership in heart and cardiovascular diseases and its worldwide reach,” said Xavier Struillou, president of the EFP.
“Perio & Cardio reinforces the leading role being played by the EFP in its pursuit of periodontal health for a better life everywhere,” Struillou said.
“Most people are dangerously unaware of the increased risk of heart disease associated with poor periodontal health,” said Jean-Luc Eiselé, CEO of WHF.
“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,” Eiselé said.
“We are proud to be joining forces with the European Federation of Periodontology to shine a light on this important issue,” Eiselé said.