Oral Healthcare and Cardiovascular Disease: A Scoping Review of Current Strategies and Implications for Nurses

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Abstract

Background:

There is epidemiological evidence showing an association between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Despite this evidence* no comprehensive review has been undertaken to identify strategies to improve the oral health of people with CVD.

Objectives:

The aim of this review is to identify current evidence relating to the oral healthcare and management of patients with CVD.

Methods:

A scoping review was undertaken focusing on 4 key areas, namely, the impact of periodontal treatment on CVD, current recommendations regarding oral health and CVD, the role of nurses in promoting oral health, and available resources to support them. Databases were searched using a combination of keywords and search terms and 34 articles were selected.

Results:

Systematic reviews suggest that periodontal treatment may improve CVD outcomes by reducing systemic inflammation and improving endothelial function. However, there is insufficient evidence to confirm or refute these findings. International guidelines recognize the link between periodontal disease and CVD and recommend preventative strategies in this area. Non–oral health professionals, including nurses, can promote oral health and have been undertaking this role in areas like aged care and pregnancy. However, this aspect of nursing care has not been explored in the cardiac setting and no relevant training and assessment tools are available.

Conclusions:

Maintaining oral health among cardiovascular patients is important, yet it appears to be neglected during cardiac care. Cardiac nurses are in an excellent position to promote oral health but further research is required to define their role and develop supporting resources.

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