BACKGROUND: The authors describe how oral disease, particularly periodontal disease, may place certain patients at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and stroke. RESULTS: Although the precise mechanisms of interaction are not clear, two biological mechanisms that may explain the relationship are presented. In addition, the authors describe the dental management issues that need to be understood in treating patients compromised by cardiovascular disease. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: The patient with cardiovascular disease may present a challenge to the dental health care provider, depending on the degree of hemodynamic compromise and the stability of his or her condition.
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