The outreach campaign "Perio & Family Doctors”, a collaborative initiative between the EFP and Wonca Europe with the support of Curasept, aims to raise awareness of how dental and general practitioners can enhance the healthcare they provide to their patients by taking advantage of the connections between periodontology and family medicine.
Gum health is closely linked to overall well-being, and the campaign builds on this knowledge. It also acknowledges the significant links between gum disease and serious, chronic health conditions. The initiative “Perio & Family Doctors” involves examining and updating the pathways for family physicians concerning the prevention and early detection of gum disease. Additionally, it focuses on providing periodontists and other oral healthcare providers with strategies for preventing, detecting, and co-treating conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
Collaboration between dental and general practitioners holds immense potential to enhance the quality, effectiveness, and proactivity of patient care. This need for coordination and exchange between oral and non-oral health professionals is at the core of the Perio & Family Doctors project.
This campaign has evolved from the outcomes of the EFP's focused workshop on periodontology and family doctors, which took place in July 2022 in Madrid. It was sponsored by Curasept and involved leading experts from both organisations. Experts worked in three subgroups to thoroughly examine the latest evidence for associations between periodontal diseases and major chronic systemic NCDs, including diabetes, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
The key element of this campaign is the scientific consensus report published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. This paper summarises the discussions held during the workshop sessions.
Regarding respiratory diseases, participants reviewed a systematic review prepared for the workshop, which identified positive associations between periodontitis and conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnoea, and Covid-19 complications. In the case of CVD, experts concluded that periodontitis is linked to systemic inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and raised incidence of future cardiovascular events. Moreover, recent evidence suggests that treating periodontal disease leads to systemic health improvements including reducing cardiometabolic risk, and systemic inflammation.
The Perio & Family Doctors outreach campaign includes a series of informative materials, including infographics and animations, designed to engage a diverse international audience.