Study shows links between periodontal care and hospitalization following acute myocardial infarction

Conventional wisdom holds that medical and dental care are linked, but less is known about how dental care is linked to health outcomes after acute events like heart attacks.

To that end, researchers at the University of Michigan studied patients receiving periodontal care, dental cleanings, or no dental care between 2016 and 2018 who suffered an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) in 2017.

They found that patients who had heart attacks and received periodontal maintenance care had the shortest length of hospital stay and more follow-up visits. The longest length of stay was experienced by the group without dental care.

After controlling for several factors, the periodontal care group had higher odds of having post-hospital visits.”

Romesh Nalliah, Study Co-Author, Associate Dean for Patient Services, UM School of Dentistry

There was no statistically significant difference between the other groups (active periodontal care and regular care) compared to the no care group.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Dental Associationdid not establish a causal relationship between periodontal disease and heart disease, but research like this adds weight to the understanding that there is an association between oral health and overall health, Nalliah said. .

There are 800,000 myocardial infarctions in the United States each year, and people with periodontal disease are at increased risk of hospitalization after a heart attack, he said.

Nalliah and colleagues wanted to examine the association between periodontal care and heart attack hospitalization, and follow-up visits within 30 days of acute care. Using the MarketScan database, they found 2,370 patients who met the study criteria. Of these, 47% received regular or other oral care, 7% received active periodontal care (root planing and periodontal scaling), and 10% received controlled periodontal care (maintenance). More than 36% had not received oral health care before being hospitalized after a heart attack.

“Dentistry is often practiced in isolation from general health care,” Nalliah said. “Our results add weight to the evidence that medical and dental health are closely linked. More and more studies like ours show that it is a mistake to practice medicine without considering the oral health of the patient. patient.”

Nalliah said better communication between medical and dental teams could help with early intervention to ensure stable periodontal health in patients who have risk factors for heart disease.

“It’s important to include dental care as part of routine medical care and that means insurances need to facilitate that connection rather than offering dental insurance as a separate top-up cover,” he said.

Co-authors include Tanima Basu, senior statistician at Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium, and Chiang-Hua Chang, assistant research professor at Michigan Medicine.


Journal reference:

Nalliah, PR, et al. (2022) Association between periodontal care and hospitalization with acute myocardial infarction. The Journal of the American Dental Association.

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