Periodontal bacterial invasion and infection: contribution to atherosclerotic pathology

J Periodontol. 2013 Apr;84(4 Suppl):S30-50. doi: 10.1902/jop.2013.1340012.


Objective: The objective of this review was to perform a systematic evaluation of the literature reporting current scientific evidence for periodontal bacteria as contributors to atherosclerosis.

Methods: Literature from epidemiological, clinical and experimental studies concerning periodontal bacteria and atherosclerosis were reviewed. Gathered data were categorized into seven "proofs" of evidence that periodontal bacteria: 1) disseminate from the oral cavity and reach systemic vascular tissues; 2) can be found in the affected tissues; 3) live within the affected site; 4) invade affected cell types in vitro; 5) induce atherosclerosis in animal models of disease; 6) non-invasive mutants of periodontal bacteria cause significantly reduced pathology in vitro and in vivo; and 7) periodontal isolates from human atheromas can cause disease in animal models of infection.

Results: Substantial evidence for proofs 1 to 6 was found. However, proof 7 has not yet been fulfilled.

Conclusions: Despite the lack of evidence that periodontal bacteria obtained from human atheromas can cause atherosclerosis in animal models of infection, attainment proofs 1 to 6 provides support that periodontal pathogens can contribute to atherosclerosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis*
  • Bacteria
  • Humans
  • Periodontal Diseases*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / isolation & purification