Periodontal disease and systemic disorders

Periodontal disease and systemic disorders

Periodontitis (or periodontal disease) is the inflammation and destruction of the underlying supporting tissues of the teeth (the periodontium). It is a multifactorial chronic inflammatory disease that is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth (bacteria), which causes inflammation of the gums. It represents the most advanced stage of gum disease and can lead to the progressive destruction of the tissues around the teeth, which can result in mobility and even loss of teeth. What many people don’t know is that periodontal disease can also contribute to other health problems. Uncontrolled periodontitis has a considerable impact on general health, as it can contribute to the pathogenesis of certain diseases, inducing changes in their progression and severity.


Periodontitis and cardiovascular disease (CVD)

Several studies show a positive association between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Patients with periodontitis have a higher risk of CVD, such as myocardial infarction or stroke. Periodontitis patients with cardiovascular problems also have a higher risk of subsequent CVD complications.  Thus, they should have regular dental cleanings and visit their dentist for a thorough oral examination. Patients with CVD who do not have periodontitis should also be followed up regularly (at least once a year) to detect any changes in their periodontal status as quickly as possible.

Observational studies show that oral hygiene habits such as tooth brushing, dental prophylaxis, increased dental visits and periodontal treatment reduce the incidence of cardiovascular diseases.


Periodontitis and diabetes

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) leads to several complications such as diabetic retinopathy; neuropathy; nephropathy; cardiac, peripheral, arterial, and cerebrovascular disease; obesity; certain cancers; pancreatitis; erectile dysfunction, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Hyperglycemia also leads to various oral complications, most notably periodontitis.

Evidence confirms that diabetes has a negative effect on periodontal health and, conversely, that periodontal disease has a negative effect on glycemic control and the incidence of diabetes complications. Indeed, poorly controlled diabetes is a recognized risk factor for the development of periodontitis. Epidemiological data show that people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes suffer from periodontitis more frequently, and with greater severity, than the general population. It is estimated that diabetics are three times more likely to develop periodontitis than non-diabetics.

The chronic inflammation that results from periodontitis could have a negative effect on blood glucose control in people with diabetes, while the impact of diabetes on immune function and inflammatory pathways could have negative effects on periodontal health.

Thus, good oral hygiene and regular dental visits are recommended to prevent and manage diabetes-related oral health problems. There is evidence to support the use of periodontal treatment (known as periodontal scaling) to control blood glucose levels in people with periodontitis and diabetes for up to 12 months after the start of the periodontal treatment. Glycemic control is a key element in the management of diabetes and in preventing future complications.


Periodontitis and pregnancy

Gestational periodontitis has been shown to have an impact on pregnancy. According to studies, there is a positive association between periodontitis and complications on pregnancy.

It is becoming increasingly evident that periodontal disease is a risk factor for premature delivery, low birth weight and pre-eclampsia. To avoid the development of periodontitis, with potentially serious repercussions on the pregnancy, expectant mothers should receive regular oral hygiene care from their dentist throughout the pregnancy.


Periodontitis and erectile dysfunction

In several studies, a positive association between chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction has been found. Among a systematic review analyzing nine studies, it is interesting to note that the results of all the studies show a significant association between untreated periodontitis and erectile dysfunction. It is therefore possible to state that people with periodontitis have an increased risk of developing erectile dysfunction compared to people without periodontal disease. Once again, it is strongly recommended to regularly visit your dentist to obtain the necessary dental hygiene care to avoid periodontitis.

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