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BRUSSELS, Belgium: There is scientific evidence that periodontal and cardiovascular diseases are related. With a new campaign called Perio and Cardio, the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) and the World Heart Federation (WHF) aim to create more awareness of this important topic. The initiative includes a website and educational material for dentists, cardiologists, medical professionals and the general public.
Patients with periodontal disease should be told that they have a higher risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases—including myocardial infarction and stroke—and that they should actively manage risk factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, excess weight, blood pressure, and a diet high in saturated fats and refined sugars. Those who suffer from both periodontitis and cardiovascular disease may have a higher risk of cardiovascular complications and should carefully follow recommended dental regimes of prevention, treatment and maintenance.
These are among the key messages of the Perio and Cardio educational campaign launched by the EFP and WHF. This global initiative is centred on the site, which contains recommendation documents, infographics, an animated film and other educational materials.
Perio and Cardio is based on a new evidence-based scientific consensus on the links between periodontal and cardiovascular diseases and on expert recommendations about prevention and therapy for both types of disease. All the material in the campaign derives from the consensus report, titled “Periodontitis and cardiovascular disease”, which was published in March 2020 in the EFP’s Journal of Clinical Periodontology and which detailed the findings of the Perio and Cardio Workshop. This workshop was held in Madrid in 2019 and brought together 20 world-leading experts in the fields of periodontics and cardiology.
“Perio and Cardio implies a mutual endorsement by two major global organisations, the EFP and WHF,” said Prof. Filippo Graziani, a past EFP president and co-ordinator of the Perio and Cardio campaign. “We really appreciate that WHF did not only reach the scientific consensus with us but is also taking an active role in disseminating the project materials among the global community of cardiologists and cardio patients. I’m also deeply grateful to Prof. Mariano Sanz, who organised the Perio and Cardio Workshop in Madrid, and to all members of the EFP’s project committee, who worked hard in helping to process this scientific information into suitable material for our medical colleagues and the population.”
“Perio and Cardio reinforces the leading role being played by the EFP in its pursuit of periodontal health for a better life everywhere”
—Dr Xavier Struillou, EFP president
“Most people are dangerously unaware of the increased risk of heart disease associated with poor periodontal health,” explained Dr Jean-Luc Eiselé, WHF CEO. “This project aims to raise awareness of this important link not just among the general public, but also among nurses, dentists, cardiologists and other medical professionals who play a key role in managing heart disease risk factors among their patients. We are proud to be joining forces with the European Federation of Periodontology to shine a light on this important issue.”
Dr Xavier Struillou, president of the EFP, added: “Partnering with WHF for this joint project is a qualitative step forward for us, given WHF’s leadership in heart and cardiovascular diseases and its worldwide reach. Perio and Cardio reinforces the leading role being played by the EFP in its pursuit of periodontal health for a better life everywhere.”
Both cardiovascular and periodontal diseases are widespread chronic non-communicable diseases. Periodontitis, the most common periodontal disease, has an overall global prevalence of 45.0–50.0%, and its severe form affects 11.2% of the world’s population, making it the sixth most common condition. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for 17.9 million deaths per year worldwide (one-third of all deaths), including 3.9 million in Europe (45% of all deaths). The main causes of these deaths are ischaemic heart disease, stroke and hypertension leading to heart failure. Although mortality rates are falling, the absolute numbers have increased over the last 25 years because of an ageing population.
The Perio and Cardio campaign, like the Perio and Cardio Workshop, is sponsored by Dentaid, an EFP partner.