MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Francisco Mesa
Department of Periodontics,
School of Dentistry, University of Granada, Spain
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Mesa: The size of an acute myocardial infarct (AMI) is one of the determinants of its severity, i.e., the degree of myocardial necrosis. This necrosis is indicated by peak troponin I levels in the blood. Among the acute myocardial infarct patients in our study, mediated regression analysis demonstrated that troponin I levels were higher, i.e., the infarct size was larger, in those with chronic periodontitis.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Mesa: The primary message for dentists is that their contribution to the healthcare of patients is not limited to oral problems alone, adding value to their profession. Their knowledge and action can have important systemic repercussions, implying the need for maximum rigor in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic periodontitis. Around 75-80% of adult cases of chronic periodontitis can be treated and controlled by the general dentist. A key message for patients would be to maintain correct oral hygiene habits and pursue what could be called a “Cardio-Perio-Healthy Life Style”, given the large number of risk factors shared by cardiovascular and periodontal diseases.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Mesa: Periodontics has acquired a dimension that could not have been imagined a few years ago, when the loss of teeth was the sole complication of periodontal disease. It is now considered to be a risk factor for systemic diseases (e.g., AMI and low-weight or premature births) and to represent a major public health problem. This important research line in Periodontal Medicine will continue to contribute scientific evidence on the influence of periodontitis on different diseases. Further research is warranted on the inclusion of periodontitis in risk scores for AMI and other pathologies associated with endothelial dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction or dementia. Cardiologists are increasingly aware of the relationship of chronic periodontitis with atherosclerosis and AMI. In 2012, the European Society of Cardiology introduced periodontitis into its cardiovascular disease prevention guidelines, and the American Heart Association has acknowledged its influence on cardiovascular risk, although it has called for more follow-up studies to elucidate the causal nature of this relationship.