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Periodontitis may influence antibiotic effectiveness

Periodontitis may influence the effectiveness of antibiotics used to prevent recurrent cardiovascular events, report researchers in an online issue of the journal Atherosclerosis.

A research team led by Dr. Susanna Paju, Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Finland, examined 141 patients who were hospitalized for acute cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarction or unstable angina pectoris.

In a double-blind trial, researchers registered the recurrence of new cardiovascular events over one year of observation after the patients received a three-month course of clarithromycin, an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections, or a placebo.

Researchers used X-rays to evaluate the status of the patients' teeth and tooth-supporting tissues and assessed the presence of two bacteria associated with periodontal disease in the patients' saliva.

They found that patients with no signs of periodontitis were more likely to avoid experiencing new cardiovascular events. Seventy-nine percent of these patients did not experience a new cardiovascular event, compared with 74 percent of toothless patients and 66 percent of patients with periodontitis.

The differences were even more noticeable in patients younger than 65 years. Ninety percent of patients without periodontitis did not experience a new cardiovascular event compared with 64 percent of patients with periodontitis and 50 percent of toothless patients.

Researchers concluded that patients younger than 65 years who have periodontitis may have a five-fold increase in the risk of recurrent, acute cardiovascular events compared with healthy people.

Please contact the ADA if you have questions about this article.

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