The EFP and the World Heart Federation (WHF) have launched an outreach campaign to highlight the links between periodontal and cardiovascular diseases.
The Perio & Cardio campaign offers clear advice, based on the latest scientific evidence, about the significance of the associations between the two diseases and about the steps that should be taken in terms of prevention and treatment.
The campaign, which has been made possible thanks to an unrestricted grant from Dentaid, includes recommendation documents designed specifically for three groups of people: oral-healthcare professionals, medical professionals and pharmacists, and patients and the public.
It also includes infographics and a video animation, as well as the consensus report of the Perio & Cardio Workshop, upon which all the materials are based.
At this workshop – held in Madrid in February 2019 and organised jointly by the EFP and the WHF, with sponsorship from Dentaid – 20 experts reviewed the latest scientific evidence on the links between periodontitis and cardiovascular diseases.
They found that there is strong epidemiological evidence that periodontitis causes an increased risk for future atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
They also concluded that patients with periodontitis should be advised that they have a higher risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases – including myocardial infarction and stroke – and that they should actively manage risk factors (such as smoking, lack of exercise, excess weight, blood pressure, and a diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars).
On top of that, patients who have both periodontitis and cardiovascular disease should be informed that they may be at higher risk of suffering subsequent cardiovascular complications and that they should therefore stick to recommended dental regimes of prevention, treatment, and maintenance.
The campaign has translated the findings of the workshop into accessible and lively formats. It has been created by a EFP's communications team working with expert advisers Filippo Graziani (chair of the EFP European Projects Committee) and Henrik Dommisch, Hady Haririan, and Paula Matasanz (the committee's junior officers).
"The health implications and recommendations from this consensus report should serve all stakeholders in implementing actions aimed at the prevention of both cardiovascular and periodontal diseases," said Mariano Sanz, co-chair of the Perio & Cardio Workshop and lead author of the consensus report.
Professor Pablo Perel, the WHF's senior science adviser and editor of its Global Heart journal, added: “Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. This report shows that there is an association between periodontitis and coronary heart disease, and people with periodontitis share many of the cardiovascular risk factors. It is important to be aware of this association and emphasise that tackling risk factors such as smoking or poor diet in people with periodontitis will also have a significant impact on cardiovascular risk.
"We need to move beyond disease ‘silos’ and have a ‘person-centred approach’, so the WHF welcomed the opportunity we had to work jointly with another scientific society, the EFP, on this important issue.”