Treating periodontal infections with an antibiotic gel reduced the presence of two chemical markers of inflammation throughout the body, pointing to further evidence of the connection between oral health and overall health, investigators from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine have found.
The investigators divided a sample of 100 adults with chronic periodontal disease into four groups, two of which had an antibiotic-infused gel applied to their periodontal pockets while the other two received standard treatment without the gel. Treatment was administered at the beginning of the study and again three months later.
Following treatment, the groups that received the gel showed not only lower levels of oral bacteria but also a decrease in the amounts of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen in the blood stream, according to the study results. These two markers of inflammatory activity are associated with the development of atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases. The reduction in C-reactive protein remained for six months.
"Several studies conducted here and elsewhere have found oral bacteria from gum infections in arterial plaque. Now we have shown that therapy for periodontal disease lessens the inflammatory burden throughout the body."
The University at Buffalo is one of five research centers participating in a three-year study examining the relationship between periodontal infection and cardiovascular disease sponsored by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.