Why should a doctor be interested in oral disease?

Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2010 Oct;8(10):1483-93. doi: 10.1586/erc.10.109.


Oral health has been implicated in systemic disease throughout the ages; however, the understanding of the relationship between oral disease and systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes mellitus is still emerging today. Chronic periodontal disease is widespread in the general population and a significant proportion of adults suffer from the most severe form of the disease. Dental plaque biofilm is necessary for the development of chronic periodontal disease with genetic and environmental factors contributing towards the pathogenesis. The putative biological mechanisms of the association between oral disease and atherogenesis are discussed, although there is insufficient evidence to establish causality at this time. Regardless of a direct causal relationship between oral disease and cardiovascular disease, treatment of oral disease leads to both a reduction in the systemic inflammatory burden as reflected in inflammatory markers and an improvement in endothelial function and hence improved overall health outcomes. A brief overview of periodontal disease including etiology, pathogenesis, screening and therapeutic implications is presented.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Biofilms
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Oral Health*
  • Periodontal Diseases / complications*
  • Periodontal Diseases / pathology
  • Periodontal Diseases / therapy