The main purpose of treatment of periodontal (gum) disease is that treatment has been shown to be successful in saving patient’s natural teeth and avoiding tooth loss. This is of course true. However, in the last 20 years studies have shown that periodontal disease also has a deleterious effect on many other areas of the body. Here are a few examples of how periodontal disease can lead to or worsen systemic diseases.
1. Heart Disease (Cardiovascular Disease CVD). A number of studies have reported that patients with periodontal disease (periodontitis) had a significantly increase risk of developing CVD. It is now thought that this link is through inflammation spreading from the mouth and effecting the heart. A number of studies have shown that the treatment of periodontal disease reduces the risk of CVD.
2. Diabetes – Studies have shown that periodontal disease increases the risk of diabetes and diabetes increases the risk and or severity of periodontal disease. Studies have also shown periodontal therapy can reduce diabetic complications and deaths related to diabetes.
3. Osteoporosis- Many studies show patients with osteoporosis or osteopenia (decreased bone density) have greater loss of periodontal attachment supporting the teeth compared with people with healthy bone mineral density. A nationwide study demonstrated that periodontitis (gum disease) has an effect on the development of osteoporosis in females.
4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – Periodontitis is one of the most common inflammatory disease and has been associated with COPD. In 2-year study patients who received periodontal treatment showed an improvement in all forms of COPD.
5. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) - Two studies (2008 and 2012) showed that chronic periodontitis could contribute to the onset and risk of AD. A study in 2011 showed that prevention and adequate treatment of periodontal disease may prevent (or delay) AD development and progression.
6. Erectile dysfunction (ED) - A recent study in Spain reported that 74% of ED patients were diagnosed with periodontitis. Researchers conducted a randomized study . Two groups of patients who had sever or moderate ED and periodontal disease were either treated of were told to improve homecare. Statistically greater improvement in the ED were reported in the treatment groups compared to the non-treated groups. This suggest a link between periodontal disease and ED. Further research is needed to understand the mechanism of interaction between periodontal disease and ED.
Make an appointment with Dr. Stuart J Froum for a comprehensive examination for diagnosis and treatment of any stage of Periodontal Disease. Call to schedule a periodontal evaluation 212.586.4209 today – don’t delay.