Groundbreaking research released today in Cardiovascular System has found an important connection between pathogen-directed treatment of periodontal disease and Lp-PLA2 levels.
The research showed a significant reduction in both clinical parameters of periodontal disease and Lp-PLA2 levels following treatment with scaling and root planing in conjunction with the Perio Protect Method, which targets the bacteria in the mouth:
“The medications used in the pilot study were 1.7% hydrogen peroxide gel (Perio Gel®) and 1-3 drops/tray Vibramycin Syrup [50 mg/5ml doxycycline]. The medications are placed by the patient into the Perio Tray and delivered into the periodontal pocket in accordance with the scope and magnitude of the patient’s periodontal disease.”
After treatment, subjects had fewer bleeding sites, reduced pocketing, and Lp-PLA2 levels that were reduced by 30% after one month—37% after three months.
Lp-PLA2 is an inflammatory marker that shows an increased risk for heart attack and stroke. The PLAC® Test, which measures Lp-PLA2, is the only blood test cleared by the FDA that helps to identify hidden risk for heart attack and stroke.
Elevated Lp-PLA2 tells us if the arteries around the heart are inflamed. It is arguably the most important test in assessing risk for heart attack and stroke—often more important than cholesterol testing, as over 50% of heart attacks and strokes occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. On the other hand 75% of all heart attacks and most strokes are caused by plaque rupture and blood clots, not the narrowing of arteries.
A 2008 study in the American Journal of Cardiology found that periodontal disease is associated with increased levels of Lp-PLA2 and suggested that oral exams are an important part of determining risk for cardiovascular disease. One factor known to reduce Lp-PLA2 levels is reducing oral inflammation with periodontal treatment.
That the Perio Protect Method, in conjunction with scaling and root planing, can have such an effect on the reduction of Lp-PLA2 levels suggests that pathogen-directed treatment may help reduce risk for cardiovascular disease.
Whether these effects are long term is still to be determined; however, this study underlines the importance of the dental team approaching periodontal disease from both traditional clinical and microbial perspectives and coordinating care with integrative medical teams who understand the impact that the mouth can have on their care.