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Periodontitis linked to general health

Periodontal health is increasingly being linked to playing a larger role in systemic health, according to extensive and recent research. A significant body of research has associated periodontitis with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and adverse pregnancy complications. Additionally, periodontal disease has been linked to other diseases, including respiratory disease, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome, erectile dysfunction, and cancer.

periodontal disease and general health

Studies have shown that periodontitis increases the risk of future atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ACVD).  In the oral cavity, bacteria is present in plaque and tartar which may be attached to teeth around and underneath the gumline .  At this site they can enter the bloodstream and travel through to the blood vessels of the heart. Here they can attach to already damaged blood vessels, or fatty build up. Their presence can lead to further damage of the heart vessels.

It is important to visit the dentist regularly for a professional dental clean to sustain improvements in general health..

Gum and bone treatment, such as cleaning and deep tarter removal, in addition to optimum oral hygiene, aim to prevent the release of bacteria into the bloodstream. Studies have shown that the effect of preventative dental treatment can be associated with improvements in the health of the blood vessels. This is why it is important to visit the dentist regularly for a professional dental clean to sustain these improvements in general health.

Patients with moderate to severe periodontitis have an increased risk of development or progression of diabetes. Consistent evidence shows that severe periodontitis adversely affects blood glucose levels (expressed as HbA1c) in individuals with and without diabetes. As periodontal treatments may provide beneficial effects in some diabetic patients, regular comprehensive periodontal exams are recommended for patients with diabetes.

Insufficient evidence exists to indicate that periodontal therapy can improve pregnancy outcomes. However, some studies suggest a modest link between maternal periodontitis and adverse pregnancy outcomes. It is important that women of childbearing age are aware of this potential systemic link so that preventive periodontal care can be encouraged prior to conception.  Additionally, women should be aware that periodontal therapy is considered safe during pregnancy and can result in improved periodontal health.

Maintaining periodontal health might help reduce the risk for other diseases...

There is existing evidence that indicates a connection between periodontitis and other systemic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cognitive impairment, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. While research has suggested that periodontal disease may be associated with other systemic diseases, more information is needed to understand whether there is a definite, causal link. However, despite the lack of causal evidence, it is important that all patients be informed that maintaining periodontal health might help reduce the risk for other diseases.