Data appearing in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology from Ola Vedin and colleagues speaks to the potential relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.

When nearly 16,000 individuals with established coronary heart disease (CHD) completed a lifestyle questionnaire—including queries about dental health—the results showed that signs of periodontal disease were widespread among this patient group. 

The study participants came from the STABILITY trial, a clinical trial involving people from 39 different countries. All participants had chronic coronary heart disease and at least one additional risk factor for CHD. 

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Of note was a high incidence of tooth loss; 16% of respondents said they had no teeth and 41% had less than 15. More than one-quarter of the study participants reported bleeding gums during tooth-brushing. 

In addition to answering the questionnaire, the study group underwent a physical examination and blood tests. Vedin’s group discovered that increased tooth loss was also strongly linked with higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, fasting glucose levels, and systolic blood pressure as well as larger waist circumference. 

The incidence of bleeding gums was strongly tied to higher LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure.