The oral infection periodontitis could increase the risk of heart disease, according to new research.
The study, published in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggests that treating inflammation – which causes both oral infections and cardiovascular disease – could reduce the risk of both conditions.
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that damages the supporting structures of the teeth.
The research is significant for people with diabetes because of the strong links between diabetes and periodontitis. Diabetes, according to previous research, is a significant risk factor for the development of periodontitis. One study found that diabetes could make the risk of periodontitis as much as three times higher.
Diabetes, therefore, increases the risk of oral infections. According to this study, the oral infections then increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. The high blood glucose levels experienced by people with diabetes can, over time, damage the arteries, which also increases the risk of heart disease. This study, then, suggests another, indirect link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Given the high prevalence of oral infections, any risk they contribute to cardiovascular disease is important to public health, said Thomas Van Dyke, senior author of the study.
“Unravelling the role of the oral microbiome and inflammation in cardiovascular disease will likely lead to new preventive and treatment approaches.”
“New discoveries of natural pathways that resolve inflammation have offered many opportunities for revealing insights into disease pathogenesis and for developing new pharmacologic targets for the treatment of both oral infections and cardiovascular disease.”

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