As research continues to explore the relationship of oral disease to other systemic diseases, it is becoming clearer that oral health can help contribute in the prevention of various medical ailments, or reduce their severity.
The culprit it appears is chronic inflammation which can be caused by chronic periodontal disease or other chronic dental infections. Although some of the damage seen is localized to the periodontium by bacterial invasion, most of the other damage is seen by cytokines, a product of chronic inflammation, which can help cause destruction in distant places, contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and premature births.
Recent studies show that 1/3 of people with Diabetes Mellitus have severe periodontal disease, and that by treating their periodontal disease their serum glucose levels were reduced by 50mg/dL.
One researcher found that if oral bacteria breach the placenta, the baby's risk of being prematurely born rises to 2.8 times that of a baby with no exposure.
Research at the University of Buffalo showed a link between periodontal disease and osteoporosis, especially in women over 70. In the NHANES study which included 10,000 Americans, between 18-74 , people with periodontal disease were much more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease.
Given the increased presence of periodontal disease in the medicaid population, the lack of adequate dental care will help contribute to their developing these various chronic diseases, and raise the costs of healthcare to treat these diseases.
Questions about oral health and periodontal disease? Give us a call or visit the Associates in Periodontics website!