Correlation Between Periodontal Disease and Systemic Disease

Impact periodontal disease has on your overall health

Periodontal disease is not only associated with tooth loss, it has much more far reaching systemic affects. Studies have shown periodontal disease is not just a disease specific to the oral cavity but a condition that can affect your overall health.  Periodontal disease has been linked to several systemic diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke, and has been associated with low-birth-weight infants.

The relationship between periodontal disease and systemic disease is  not likely to affect all individuals.  In affected patients, periodontal disease is suggested to be a risk factor for systemic disease just as high cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heart disease.  Periodontal disease may initiate systemic inflammation.  Presence of systemic inflammation can be monitored by checking the levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein and fibrinogen levels.   Presence of these inflammatory markers in the bloodstream  is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.Periodontal Disease

The presence of inflammatory markers can be initiated by untreated periodontal disease. This is thought to be caused by direct consequence of presence of pathogenic bacteria or indirectly through other proteins or molecules stimulated by periodontal disease.  As the severity of gum disease increases so can the extent of local inflammation, which can lead to increase in circulating inflammatory factors.

With proper treatment and maintenance localized inflammation which occurs with periodontal disease can be significantly reduced or eliminated.  This can also lead to reduction of systemic inflammatory markers. Significant reduction in risk of low infant birth weight has been reported after periodontal treatment. Some diabetic patients have improved their diabetic status and reduced their need for insulin after periodontal therapy combined with systemic doxycycline.

These findings show the importance of following up with recommended treatment and proper home care by the patients.  It is also important to point out how important oral health is for our overall well being.

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