Sifting the Evidence

In 2013 the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) dedicated its ninth European Workshop to the relationship between periodontitis and systemic diseases. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) were joint partners making the event the first ever EFP/AAP transatlantic workshop, which attracted representatives from as far away as the Asia-Pacific rim. Eleven exhaustive, systematic reviews, involving 24 world experts as reviewers, were commissioned to look at the relationship between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes and ‘other’ systemic diseases. Click here to view the consensus reports and papers which are available free. Much of the review content below comes from these documents with due acknowledgment to the EFP/AAP.

The value of such a high level review process lies in the power of its outcome. Sieving through the evidence enables an overview of the strength and hierarchy, a process entirely missing, for example, in the case of the focal infection theory as described above. In relation to this, part of the problem may be considered to have arisen through previous, premature ‘over-hyping’ of the importance and impact of periodontitis in certain quarters, based on epidemiological evidence of variable quality, linking periodontitis with almost every human condition, including, by way of example, male erectile dysfunction!