The gum diseasealso called periodontal diseaseis a infection that leads to inflammation of the tissues or bones supporting the teeth. It is generally caused by a significant presence of bacteria between the teeth and at their junction with the gum.
“Untreated periodontitis can also have impact on general health. Poor oral health can be the cause of local or remote infectious complicationsespecially in the context of severe periodontal disease”, warns the Health Insurance.
Christine Bryson, specialist in medical sciences at Anglia Ruskin University (United Kingdom), listed in an article published on the scientific site The Conversation on September 27, 2022, the complications that gum disease could promote.
Many studies have shed light on the links between periodontal diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. “A study showed that having chronic gum disease for ten years or more was associated with a 70% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than the others. Research has also shown a link between gum disease and a decline in cognitive abilities,” writes the British expert.
Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain this association. Some have pointed the finger at the P. gingivalis bacteriaoften present in chronic pathologies of the gums and also spotted in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. Others think that those responsible are toxic bacterial enzymes, called gingipains. They argue that they aggravate periodontitis by preventing the immune response from shutting down, and therefore prolonging inflammation.
“However, it is uncertain whether bacteria in the brain, an altered immune response, or other factors, such as damage from systemic inflammation, account for the link. But taking care of your oral health could be a way to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease”, recognizes the expert.
Heart disease linked to dental problems
The association between dental disorders and heart disease has also been several confirmed.
After following more than 1,600 people over the age of 60, scientists demonstrated in 2016 that the risk of having a heart attack is increased by almost 30% in people with gum disease.
Studies, published in 2019, add that the tooth brushing is associated with lower risks of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.
“Research suggests that a poor oral hygiene leads to bacteria in the blood, causing inflammation of the body. Inflammation increases the risk of atrial fibrillation [rythme cardiaque irrégulier, ndlr] and D’heart failure [la capacité du cœur à pomper du sang, ndlr]. This study examined the link between oral hygiene and the occurrence of these two conditions,” explains the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in its press release.
“Brushing teeth at least three times a day is associated with a 10% lower risk of atrial fibrillation and 12% for heart failure“, had then estimated the researchers.
Type 2 diabetes: watch your teeth
The gum disease and type 2 diabetes are closely linked. The first is a complication of the second. And at the same time, suffering from chronic periodontal disease increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“The processes that link the two diseases are the subject of much research, and inflammation caused by each condition is likely to affect the other. For example, type 2 diabetes increases the risk of gum disease by amplifying gum inflammation. Gum disease has also been shown to contribute to impaired functioning of insulin signaling pathways or insulin resistanceboth of which can exacerbate type 2 diabetes,” Christine Bryston writes in her article.
Periodontal disease linked to several cancers
To prevent cancerous tumors, it is best to take care of your gums and teeth. Indeed, it has been shown through several studies that patients with a history of dental disorders have a 43% increased risk esophageal cancer and 52% for stomach cancer.
Other work assures that people with chronic gum disease had a risk of 14 to 20% higher to develop any type of cancer. Scientists estimate the rate to rise to 54% with pancreatic cancer.
“It is unclear why this relationship exists. Some believe it has to do with inflammationwhich is a factor in both gum disease and cancer”, concludes the British scientist.
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