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Curr Opin Microbiol. 1998 Feb;1(1):88-95.

Oral pathogens: from dental plaque to cardiac disease.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Stafford Hall, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405, USA.


Oral bacteria exhibit highly specific adherence mechanisms and as a result they colonize and cause disease principally in the oral cavity. Oral pathogens, however, can produce systemic disease and are known causative agents of infective endocarditis. Recent studies have revealed that periodontal disease per se is also a statistically significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A link between the two diseases is the secretion and systemic appearance in periodontitis of pro-inflammatory cytokines capable of eliciting effects associated with atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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