A substantial proportion of people with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are not identified before they develop clinical signs and symptoms. A multidisciplinary approach that includes a cardiovascular screening by oral health care providers can affect the identification of people at risk of experiencing cardiovascular events.
The authors extracted data from the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the 2001-2002 NHANES for people aged 40 to 85 years with no reported specific risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) and who had not seen a physician in the previous 12 months but had seen a dentist. They used these data to estimate the 10-year Framingham-based risk calculation scores for each subject to determine their global risk of experiencing acute CHD events.
Eighteen percent of the male subjects had an increased 10-year global risk of experiencing a CHD event (> 10 percent risk score), 14.3 percent had a moderate, above-average risk score (> 10-< 20 percent), and an additional 4.3 percent had a high risk score (> or = 20 percent). Only one female subject had a risk score greater than 10 percent. When the authors extrapolated these results to the 2000 U.S. census data, they found that among men aged 40 to 85 years without reported risk factors who had not seen a physician but had seen a dentist in the previous 12 months, 332,262 had a greater than 10 to less than 20 percent risk of experiencing a CHD event, and 72,625 had a 20 percent or greater 10-year risk of experiencing a CHD event.
Dentists can play an important role in identifying people in need of primary prevention strategies for CVD.