This course seeks to improve the dental care provider’s understanding of the interaction between periodontal disease and CVD. It will also serve as an aid in the clinical decision making process for patients with CVD and periodontal disease.

Periodontal diseases have been associated with numerous systemic diseases and conditions, including diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and obesity. Of these, CVD is of special interest as it is the single leading cause of death in both men and women worldwide.1-2 CVD includes many diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, including hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular disease, myocardial infarction, and hypercholesterolemia. For the purposes of this course, we will concentrate on these diseases. As both CVD and periodontal disease are inflammatory conditions and share many confounding factors (e.g., smoking, obesity, diabetes mellitus), an association between the two diseases has long been investigated.3-7 Recent consensus reports have stated that while there is a well-established association between the two diseases, there is not currently sufficient evidence to support reports of a causal relationship.8 Other data do suggest, however, that there may be biologic plausibility for an interaction of both periodontal bacteria and periodontal inflammatory factors to exert influence on the cardiovascular system.9-12

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