New study confirms periodontal disease linked to heart disease

Feb. 7, 2002
A newly published study in the Journal of Periodontology confirms recent findings that people with periodontal disease are at a greater risk of systemic diseases.

Researchers found diseased gums released significantly higher levels of bacterial pro-inflammatory components, such as endotoxins, into the bloodstream in patients with severe periodontal disease compared to healthy patients. As a result, these harmful bacterial components in the blood could travel to other organs in the body, such as the heart, and cause harm. The study is in line with recent findings by the University of Buffalo where researchers suggest periodontal disease may cause oral bacterial components to enter the bloodstream and trigger the liver to make C-reactive proteins, which are a predictor for increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

Aetna and Columbia University will partner together on a project funded by a $500,000 grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Addressing Tobacco in Managed Care program. Aetna and Columbia, with assistance from the Deschutes Research Institute, will create CD-ROM-based interactive tools for dentists to assist patients in quitting the use of tobacco products. Dental staffs may receive continuing education credits for completion of certain aspects of the CD-ROM.