Can a chronic dental infection be considered a cause of cardiovascular disease? A review of the literature

Int J Cardiol. 2011 Apr 1;148(1):4-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2010.08.011. Epub 2010 Sep 18.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) have a complex etiology determined by risk factors, which are in turn associated to a strong genetic component and to environmental factors. In the biological background for the development of CVD, low-grade chronic inflammation plays a role as a pathogenetic determinant of atherosclerosis. Dental infections have been associated with CVD. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the supporting tissues of the tooth that can lead to teeth loss. In recent years, a number of reports have demonstrated the possible relationship between periodontal disease and CVD. Apical periodontitis, on the other hand, is the late consequence of an endodontic infection, which is caused by the persistence of coronal caries and involves the root canal system of the tooth. Most of the time, it is a chronic infection. Some studies have found a correlation between a "composite status" of oral health (eg. caries, tooth loss, periodontal disease) and CVD, but only a few of them have addressed the association between apical periodontitis and CVD. This "state of the art" paper represents the first stage of an incoming study on the relationship between chronic endodontic infection and CVD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Periapical Periodontitis / complications
  • Periapical Periodontitis / diagnosis
  • Periapical Periodontitis / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications*
  • Periodontal Diseases / diagnosis
  • Periodontal Diseases / etiology*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Tooth Diseases / complications
  • Tooth Diseases / diagnosis
  • Tooth Diseases / epidemiology