Oral infection in childhood can increase risk of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis in adulthood, according to a recent study.
Atherosclerosis occurs when fats, cholesterol and other substances build up in and on the artery walls.
Published in the Journal of JAMA Network Open, the study looked at signs of oral infections and inflammation including caries, fillings, bleeding on probing and probing pocket depth. More progressed oral infections and inflammations were associated with several cardiovascular risk factors in adults.
Periodontitis, a gum infection that damages gums and can destroy the jawbone, is currently considered as independent risk factor for atherosclerotic vascular diseases.
The study concluded that oral infections “were an independent risk factor for subclinical atherosclerosis, and their association with cardiovascular risk factors persevered through the entire follow-up.” And so prevention and treatment of oral infections during childhood is crucial.
“The observation is novel since there are no earlier follow-up studies on childhood oral infections and the risk of cardiovascular diseases,” researcher Pirkko Pussinen was quoted as saying.