I found this article on the subject of the correlation between gum disease and heart disease. This the rational for our increasing concerns about our patients periodontal condition. It is becoming more and more evident that oral health is directly related to one’s general health.

Shared Genetic Variant Found Between Gum Disease and Coronary Heart Disease
Tuesday May 26, 2009

Scientists at the universities of Kiel, Dresden, Amsterdam and Bonn have identified a genetic link between coronary heart disease and periodontitis (gum disease). The discovery was presented at the European Society of Human Genetics on May 25, 2009.

In a press release from the University of Keil, Germany, Dr. Arne Schaefer was quoted in saying his team has “examined the aggressive form of periodontitis, the most extreme form of periodontitis which is characterized by a very early age of onset. The genetic variation associated with this clinical picture is identical to that of patients who suffer from cardiovascular disease and have already had a myocardial infarction.” The genetic variant was found on chromosome 9.

Dr. Schaefer also stresses that “Aggressive periodontitis has shown itself to be associated not only with the same risk factors such as smoking, but it shares, at least in parts, the same genetic predisposition with an illness that is the leading cause of death worldwide.”

The connection between coronary heart disease (CDH) and periodontal disease should be taken very seriously. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death form men and women in the United States. Because it has to be assumed that there is a causal connection between periodontitis and myocardial infarction, patients with a history of CDH could see aggressive periodontal treatments become a regular part of their treatment regime, and the same could be said about periodontal disease. Dentists that diagnose periodontal disease could be sending referrals to cardiologists in the future; connecting diagnosed gum disease to other risk factors for coronary heart disease displayed in some patients.

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