WEDNESDAY, Sept. 1, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Periodontitis is associated with increased odds of new cardiovascular (CV) events, according to a study presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2021: The Digital Experience, held virtually from Aug. 27 to 30.

Giulia Ferrannini, M.D., of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and colleagues examined whether periodontitis increases the risk for new CV events in a follow-up of a case-control study involving 805 patients with a first myocardial infarction (MI) and 805 controls without MI. Participants underwent a CV and dental examination, including panoramic X-ray. Periodontitis was categorized as healthy, moderate, or severe. The first of all-cause death, non-fatal MI or stroke, or severe heart failure was the composite primary end point, while the first of CV death, non-fatal MI or stroke, or severe heart failure was the secondary CV end point.

Overall, 1,587 participants were followed for a mean of 6.2 years. The researchers identified 205 primary end point events, 158 CV events, and 68 deaths. The presence of periodontitis at baseline was associated with the primary end point in the total cohort compared with those without periodontitis (odds ratio, 1.49); similar findings were seen for the secondary CV end point (odds ratio, 1.42). There was no association for periodontitis with total mortality.

“We postulate that the damage of periodontal tissues in people with gum disease may facilitate the transfer of germs into the bloodstream,” Ferrannini said in a statement. “This could accelerate harmful changes to the blood vessels and/or enhance systemic inflammation that is harmful to the vessels.”

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