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Evidence lacking that gum disease treatment prevents heart disease

November 20, 2017

By Michelle Manchir

Researchers found insufficient evidence to determine whether periodontal therapy in patients with chronic periodontitis prevents occurrence or recurrence of cardiovascular disease in a systematic review published online in November in the Cochrane Review Database.

Researchers in China, on behalf of Cochrane Oral Health, sought to analyze randomized controlled trials and quasi-randomized control trials that included patients with a diagnoses of chronic periodontitis and previous cardiovascular disease or no cardiovascular disease. However, only one trial was included in the review, as authors found no studies meeting the inclusion criteria that assessed primary prevention of heart disease in people with periodontitis.

The included study, conducted at several sites with parallel groups, involved 303 participants with chronic periodontitis. It compared cardiovascular outcomes in a periodontal treatment group to that of a control group. Those in the periodontal treatment group received oral hygiene instructions and one regimen of full-mouth scaling and root planning. The control community group received oral hygiene instruction and a copy of their radiographs along with letter documenting tentative findings and a recommended to seek the opinion of a dentist. A total of 20 percent of participants in the control group had scaling and root planing within the follow-up period. The study outcome found that five of those in the periodontal treatment group and seven in the control group reported cardiovascular events during the 25-month period of follow-up, which was not a statistically significant difference. The Cochrane authors found this study had a high risk of performance bias due in part to blinding of participants and other personnel.

ADA members have access to the full article by logging in through the ADA Library & Archives. The link to the article is here.