Isn't it time to go to the dentist?
Gum inflammation has been linked to heart disease and mental disorders
Maria Osetrova, Naked Science
Researchers from the UK assessed the risks of developing heart disease, autoimmune diseases and mental disorders among 60 thousand people suffering from gum inflammation and periodontal disease. It turned out that in this group the probability of getting sick is higher than in the group with the same demographic structure, but without gum problems.
Gum problems are an extremely common phenomenon that affects up to 50% of the population, and this proportion is higher among the elderly. Gum inflammation (gingivitis) or periodontal disease (periodontitis) significantly reduces the quality of life of people, but until now it was not enough known about their association with other diseases, especially mental disorders. In their work, the scientists conducted one of the largest epidemiological studies of this kind today, using data from primary health care in the UK.
The sample included the records of therapists on 64,379 patients who were diagnosed with gingivitis (60,995 people) or periodontitis (3,384 people). The records of these patients were compared with the records of 251,161 people who did not have gum problems. The average age in both groups was 44 years, 43% of participants were men, and 30% were smokers. Additionally, the samples were balanced by body mass index and ethnicity.
In each group, the researchers assessed the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (heart failure, stroke, vascular dementia), cardiometabolic disorders (high blood pressure, type II diabetes), autoimmune diseases (arthritis, type I diabetes, psoriasis) and mental disorders (depression, anxiety, serious mental disorders) for three years observations.
It turned out that for all groups of diagnoses, the risks of developing additional diseases were higher among people who had gum problems. For mental disorders, the indicator was increased by 37%, autoimmune diseases — by 33%, cardiovascular diseases - by 18%, and for cardiometabolic diseases — by 7%. At the same time, among the latter group, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased especially strongly — by 26%.
The results emphasize how important it is to detect gum and periodontal diseases in a timely manner, and also indicate the need for effective interaction between dentists and other healthcare professionals.
An article with the results of the study was published in the journal BMJ Open (Zemedikun et al., Burden of chronic diseases associated with periodontal diseases: a retrospective cohort study using UK primary care data).
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