NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 7, 2005
Preventing gum disease also could significantly improve chances of avoiding vascular problems, according to a new study published in the Feb. 8 issue of the American Heart Assn.'s journal Circulation.
Although previous studies have suggested a relationship between periodontal disease and vascular disease, surrogate markers for gum disease, such as tooth loss or gum pocket depth, were used. This is the first study to examine the microbiology of periodontal infection and positively connect it to arterioscleroses, the researchers said.
"Because gum infections are preventable and treatable, taking care of your oral health could very well have a significant impact on your cardiovascular health," said Moise Desvarieux, MD, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center's Mailman School of Public Health and lead author of the study.
Columbia researchers measured the bacteria levels in the mouths of 657 people who had no history of stroke or myocardial infarction. They also measured the thickness of the subjects' carotid arteries. The researchers found that people with a higher level of the specific bacteria that causes periodontal disease also had an increased carotid artery thickness, even after taking other cardiovascular risk factors into account.
Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2005/03/07/hlbf0307.htm.