Table of Contents
Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 735378, 9 pages
Review Article

The Infection Hypothesis Revisited: Oral Infection and Cardiovascular Disease

1Institute of Oral Biology, Dental Faculty, University of Oslo, PB 1052 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway
2Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Medical Faculty, University of Oslo, PB 1110 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway

Received 29 June 2014; Revised 22 September 2014; Accepted 23 September 2014; Published 21 October 2014

Academic Editor: Jaume Marrugat

Copyright © 2014 Lise Lund Håheim. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD) includes inflammation in the development of atherosclerosis and thrombosis. Increasing evidence supports oral infections, and in particular the common periodontal disease, to be associated with CVD development. Periodontal infection is present in populations worldwide and in the moderate to mild form in about 35% of populations according to the World Health Organization. Objective. This review of the literature aims to present cross evidence from medical research disciplines that explore how oral infections can contribute to increase the risk for CVDs and how treatment of oral infections can reduce the risk for CVDs. Design. Review article. Results. Long-term exposure to active nontreated infections of the oral cavity presents an opportunity for bacteria, bacterial products, and viruses to enter the circulation. Toxic bacterial products enter the circulation, affecting atherosclerosis, causing platelet adhesiveness that results in clot formation, and establishing cardiac vegetation. Pathological observations have identified oral bacteria in heart valves, aortic aneurysms, and arterial walls. Clinical intervention studies on periodontal disease reduce the risk level of serological predictors for CVDs. Conclusions. This paper presents evidence across medical research disciplines for oral infections to be considered as one of the risk factors for CVDs.