(Ivanhoe Newswire) – For the first time, scientists have discovered a
genetic link between the dental disease periodontitis and coronary heart
disease, according to a new study.
German researchers said they have found a genetic variant situated on
chromosome 9 that is shared between the two diseases.
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death across the world, and
periodontitis, which leads to the loss of conductive tissue and the bone
support of teeth, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults over 40.
Periodontitis is so common that it's estimated 90 percent of people over the
age of 60 suffer from it.
Both coronary heart disease and periodontitis are associated with the same
risk factors, including smoking, diabetes and obesity, and men are more
likely to have these diseases than women. Researchers also found
similarities in the bacteria found in the oral cavity and in coronary
plaques, and both diseases are characterized by an imbalanced immune
reaction and chronic inflammation.
“These factors already indicated a possible mutual genetic basis underlying
the two diseases. Now we know for sure that there is a strong genetic link,
patients with periodontitis should try to reduce their risk factors and take
preventative measures at an early stage,” Dr. Arne Schaefer of the Institute
for Clinical Molecular Biology at the University of Kiel in Germany was
quoted as saying.
SOURCE: Study presented on May 25, 2009 at the annual conference of the
European Society of Human Genetics