Diabetics, as a result of their increased susceptibility to infection, are at greater risk of developing periodontal disease than those without diabetes. Those who do not have their diabetes under control are at an even greater risk. Uncontrolled diabetes impairs white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infection that can occur in the mouth.
Not only does diabetes affect periodontal disease, but it has been shown to affect a patient’s diabetes. Periodontal disease may make it more difficult for patients with diabetes to control their blood sugar.
Periodontal disease has been shown to increase blood sugar, which contributes to increased periods of time when the body functions with high blood sugar. Bacterial infections, like periodontal disease, can affect the patient’s metabolism making it far more complicated to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
The link between gum and heart problems has long been recognized but it is unclear if poor oral health is simply a marker of a person’s general well being. Scientists say they have established one reason why gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease.
Earlier this year a Scottish study of more than 11,000 people found people who did not brush their teeth twice a day were at increased risk of heart disease. Scientists from the University of Bristol working with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland now suggest it is the Streptococcus bacteria – responsible for causing tooth plaque and gum disease – which may be to blame.Their work shows this bacteria, once let loose in the bloodstream, makes a protein known as PadA which forces platelets in the blood to stick together and clot.
Research such as this makes a welcome contribution to further understanding the nature of the relationship between gum disease and heart disease. It backed up previous findings that suggested a link, but researchers stressed the nature of the relationship still needed further analysis.
Recent research suggests a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. When bone loss in the jaw occurs, teeth that are usually supported and anchored by the jawbone may become loose; tooth loss may occur.
Women with osteoporosis are three times more likely to experience tooth loss than those who do not have the disease. Because osteoporosis can occur in any bone in the body, the jawbone is susceptible to the disease. Low bone density in the jaw can result in loose teeth and tooth loss. Women who have osteoporosis may have trouble with loose or ill-fitting dentures as the bone is absorbed but not replaced over time.
Women with periodontal disease and osteoporosis are especially susceptible to tooth loss. Studies have recently shown a strong relationship between periodontitis, osteoporosis, and tooth loss. It has been suggested that the loss of bone density in the jaw may leave teeth more susceptible to the bacteria that cause gum disease.
In a new study, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that periodontal disease was associated with an increased risk of cancer of the pancreas. The study appeared in the January 17, 2007, issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Data for the new study came from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which began in 1986, and included 51,529 U.S. men working in the health professions. Participants responded to questionnaires about their health every two years. After analyzing the data, the researchers confirmed 216 cases of pancreatic cancer between 1986 and 2002; of those, 67 reported periodontal disease.
The results showed that–after adjusting for age, smoking, diabetes, body mass index, and a number of other factors–men with periodontal disease had a 63 percent higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer compared to those reporting no periodontal disease.
Stroke occurs when the blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygen are damaged or compromised. Restricting the brain of oxygen, even briefly, can result in a stroke. Even minor or mini-strokes can result in life-altering consequences, such as paralysis, weakness, aphasia (losing the ability to speak, write, or understand language), and mental health changes.
Recent studies have shown that people with moderate to advanced periodontal disease are at a greater risk. One study published by the American Stroke Association in 2004 showed that patients with severe periodontitis, or gum disease, had a 4.3 times higher risk of stroke than those with mild or no periodontal disease. The bottom line is: If you have an infection in your mouth 24 hours a day for 7 days per week, then it is going to spread to your entire body!