The aim of this work was to find an association between periodontitis and atherosclerosis.
Previous studies already suggested a role of infection and inflammation in atherogenesis. Studies showed that patients with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases often suffered from periodontal problems. The local periodontal infection can trigger through bacteremia a systemic inflammatory response. The increased proinflammatory mediators (i.e.
IL-1, TNF-[alpha], PGE2) as reaction of monocytes and macrophages to LPS are considerably involved in the atherogenesis as well as in the pathogenesis of periodontitis.
Periodontitis and atherosclerosis share common risk factors and therefore might share the same pathomechanism. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown significant associations and plausible explanations that periodontitis, concerning the systemic bacterial burden and inflammation, may contribute to the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis.
So far no causal association could have been proven. The question, whether and to which extent periodontitis represents a risk factor for atherosclerosis, remains still open.