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The Relationship of Periodontal Disease to Other Diseases

Evidence suggests a possible link between periodontal diseases and other systemic conditions that can negatively affect a person’s overall wellness, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Bacteria associated with periodontal diseases have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and preterm low weight births. The bacteria travel through the body’s veins and arteries using them as a highway system to link to the other parts of the body. Periodontal bacteria can also spread from the oral cavity to the rest of the body, including the lungs and can cause respiratory diseases associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the sixth leading cause of mortality in the United States.

No matter where the bacteria travels in the body, the immune system will respond by sending white blood cells to battle the bacteria. These white blood cells release chemicals that create and inflammatory response. Inflammation can damage tissues. Scientists now understand that inflammation causes or complicated other diseases, including pancreatic cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. For example, inflammation can damages tissues in the brain which can increase a patient’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Inflammation from gum disease can also be linked to arthritis. Many scientists believe that inflammation is responsible for the development of rheumatoid arthritis in some estimated 2.1 million people suffering from the condition.

Autoimmune diseases can have side effects related to oral health. Conditions such as Sjogrens syndrome, Lichen planus, pemphigus, pemphigoid, HIV/AIDS, and Erythema multiforme can present many different oral complications. Advise your dental professional if you suffer from an autoimmune disease. Your dental professional can work with you and your physician to help control any periodontal infections and adverse drug interactions. Maintaining good oral health can impact your quality of life. Good oral health provides the ability to eat and speak with confidence and contributes to your overall wellness. This includes maintaining a regular oral hygiene routine, including brushing daily, flossing, and regular dental visits. Brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent the development of progression of periodontal disease.

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