A new study has suggested that common oral infection in childhood is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis in adulthood. Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries characterised by the deposition of fatty material on their inner walls.
“The observation is novel since there are no earlier follow-up studies on childhood oral infections and the risk of cardiovascular diseases,” said researcher Pirkko Pussinen. More progressed oral infections and inflammations are known to be associated with several cardiovascular risk factors and disease risk in adults according to the details published in the Journal of JAMA Network Open.Periodontitis in particular has been studied extensively, and currently, it is considered an independent risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular diseases. The treatment of periodontitis is also known to decrease cardiovascular risk factors.
The study was initiated in 1980 when clinical oral examinations were conducted. Cardiovascular risk factors were measured at several times. Cumulative exposure to the risk factor was calculated in both childhood and adulthood.
The signs of oral infections and inflammation collected in the study included caries, fillings, bleeding on probing, and probing pocket depth. There were no differences between the boys and the girls.
Thickening of the carotid artery wall indicates the progression of atherosclerosis and an increased risk for myocardial or cerebral infarction, reports ANI.
The researchers emphasise, in conclusion, “Oral infections were an independent risk factor for subclinical atherosclerosis, and their association with cardiovascular risk factors persevered through the entire follow-up. Prevention and treatment of oral infections are important already in childhood.”