Here's an argument that will have your wayward patients back in the chair in a heartbeat. According to an article in the latest Journal of Periodontology, patients with a high level of systemic bacterial exposure -- due to periodontal disease -- are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
"Although there have been many studies associating gum disease with heart disease, what we have not known is exactly why this happens and under what circumstances," said JOP editor Kenneth Kornman, D.D.S., Ph.D., in a press release. "The findings of this new analysis of previously published studies suggest that the long-term effect of chronic periodontitis, such as extended bacterial exposure, may be what ultimately leads to cardiovascular disease."
Researchers looked at 11 studies that examined the link between periodontal and heart disease and analyzed participants' level of exposure to bacteria associated with periodontal disease. Those showing increased bacterial exposure were more likely to develop coronary heart disease or atherogenesis (plaque formation in the arteries).
"While more research is needed to better understand the connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, this study suggests the importance of taking of your teeth and gums and how that can help you take care of your heart," said Susan Karabin, D.D.S., president of the AAP in a press release.