A new analysis included 1,587 participants with an average age of 62 years were investigated. Participants underwent a dental examination between 2010 and 2014: 985 were classified as healthy, 489 had moderate periodontitis, and 113 had severe periodontitis. Participants were followed up for the occurrence of cardiovascular events and death.
During an average follow up of 6.2 years, participants with periodontitis at baseline had a 49% higher chance of cardiovascular events than those with healthy gums.The probability increased with the severity of gum disease.
When heart attack patients and healthy controls were assessed separately, the graded relationship between gum disease severity was significant only for patients.
Researchers postulated that the damage of periodontal tissues in people with gum disease may facilitate the transfer of germs into the bloodstream. This could accelerate harmful changes to the blood vessels and/or enhance the harmful systemic inflammation of the vessels.
It is important to underline that the quality of care in Sweden is high, as confirmed by the overall low number of total events during follow-up. Despite this, gum disease was linked with an elevated likelihood of cardiovascular disease or death.