Periodontitis, an infection of the gingiva and tooth-supporting tissues, may influence the effectiveness of antibiotics used for the prevention of recurrent cardiovascular events. A three-month course of treatment with antibiotics decreased recurrence of cardiovascular events in patients without periodontitis, while the medication was found to have no effect in patients with periodontitis. This is the first time dental infections have been linked to the effectiveness of long-term treatment with antibiotics designed to prevent myocardial infarcts.
This information was the result of research partially funded by the Academy of Finland and conducted at the Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, and at the Divisions of Cardiology and Infectious Diseases in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa. The results of the research are published in the journal Atherosclerosis in January.
According to the results, long-term antibiotic medication would prevent myocardial infarcts in patients that do not have periodontitis, or related signs of inflammation such as disease-causing bacteria or antibodies to those bacteria. Periodontitis appears to be such a significant chronic infection that the effect of antibiotic treatment in preventing cardiovascular events is lost in patients that suffer from it. During one year of observation, patients with no signs of periodontitis were more likely to avoid new cardiovascular events. A total of 79% survived without a new cardiovascular event compared with 74% of patients without teeth and 66% of those with periodontitis.
Terhi Loukiainen | alfa
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