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J Clin Periodontol. 2009 Jul;36 Suppl 10:15-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2009.01417.x.

Periodontitis and risk for atherosclerosis: an update on intervention trials.

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  • 1European Research Group on Periodontology (ERGOPERIO), Berne, Switzerland.



Periodontitis has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. The nature of the association is unclear because both periodontitis and cardiovascular disease (CVD) share a host of risk factors. Intervention trials are critical to explore the relationship. If the association were causal, successful periodontal therapy will lead to an attenuation of the effect - CVD.


The paper reviewed the design and the results of intervention trials aimed at improving systemic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, carotid atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events.


Early systematic reviews and a definitive controlled clinical trial indicate that intensive periodontal therapy results in a decrease in systemic inflammation and an improvement of endothelial dysfunction in systemically healthy subjects. A pilot trial has indicated the feasibility to assess the impact of periodontal therapy on carotid atherosclerosis in a primary cardiac prevention design.


Efforts to test causality in the relationship between periodontitis and CVD are ongoing. Evidence to date is consistent with the notion that severe generalized periodontitis causes systemic inflammation and endothelial dysfunction. Periodontitis has effects that go beyond the oral cavity and its treatment and prevention may contribute to the prevention of atherosclerosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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