North Carolina Cardiologists' Knowledge, Opinions and Practice Behaviors Regarding the Relationship between Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease

Megan Mosley, Steven Offenbacher, Ceib Phillips, Christopher Granger, Rebecca S Wilder
Journal of Dental Hygiene: JDH 2015, 89 Suppl 2: 38-48

PURPOSE: There has been an increase in awareness of the link between oral health and systemic health in recent years. While questions exist about the relationship of oral disease to cardiovascular conditions, no published study to date has addressed cardiologists' knowledge and opinions about this area of science. This study examined North Carolina cardiologists' knowledge, opinions and practice behaviors regarding periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.

METHODS: A survey was developed, revised, pilot tested and mailed to 625 licensed, practicing cardiologists' in North Carolina. A total of 3 mailings were conducted. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics.

RESULTS: The response rate was 19% (n=119). Respondents were mostly males (86%) and working in private group practice (48%) or academia (32%). Sixty three percent correctly identified the first sign of periodontal disease; however, only 18% choose the correct etiology of periodontal disease. Sixty percent of respondents stated that medical students and dental students should be trained to work collaboratively. Half of cardiologists' surveyed were unsure that treatment of periodontal disease can decrease a patient's risk for cardiovascular disease. The majority were interested in learning more about the relationship between cardiovascular disease and periodontitis.

CONCLUSION: The majority of cardiologists surveyed were unclear about the etiology of periodontal disease and would like to have more information about the potential oral-systemic link regarding cardiovascular disease. It is important for educators and administrators in higher education to examine the need for interprofessional education and collaboration between medicine and dentistry. This study may provide valuable information about ways to implement more effective interprofessional education and collaboration between dental and dental hygiene professionals and cardiologists to improve oral health.


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