Periodontal disease (periodontitis) and myocardial infarction
It has been a controversial topic for a long time. Does periodontal disease (or what is called medically correct: periodontitis) cause heart attacks? If one believes a 27-page article by a group of experts of cardiologists, dentists and infectologists of April 18, 2012, such allegations are baseless. Although a genetic link between periodontitis and a myocardial infarction on chromosome 9 was detected three years earlier by a German-Dutch research group. What is periodontal disease? Can periodontal disease cause other diseases?
What is periodontitis (periodontal disease)?
Periodontitis is an inflammation of the periodontium, which includes the jawbone, gums, cervical cementum and periodontal membrane. The main cause of periodontal disease is bacteria that accumulates in the plaque. It then form gingival pockets. Finally, the jawbone is destroyed. Almost unnoticed, inflammation of the jaw may develop over years, with a lot of pus accumulating in the gum pockets.
Related to other diseases
In addition to the direct attack surfaces in the jaw, the germs causing periodontitis can obviously have far worse consequences. Regarding diseases such as diabetes, rheumatism, impotence and some types of cancer, Peter Eickholz, President of the German Society for Periodontology, explains: “Inflammation does not directly trigger these diseases but favors them as an important risk factor”.
Periodontitis and heart attack risk
The reason for this is probably that the bacteria migrate through the slightest mucosal injury in the organism, there form toxins and thus bring the immune system on tour. “We find periodontal germs, where they do not belong: on heart valves, hip and knee prostheses, even in cysts with sebum,” says Eickholz of his experiences. This is likely to clarify the relationship between periodontitis and myocardial infarction risk.
Periodontitis and rheumatism
Inflammatory diseases of the musculoskeletal system are referred to in medicine as rheumatism. More information in our article ” Diagnosis Rheumatism – what’s next? “. In a rheumatic disease, the immune system attacks the body. Both in periodontitis and rheumatism, the immune system plays an important role. “In both diseases, the immune response is so severe that this healthy tissue is destroyed,” clarifies the rheumatologist Jacqueline Detert of the Berlin Charité the connection. “In the mouth it affects the jawbone and the fibers of the periodontium, in the joints the protective cartilage layer.”
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