Periodontitis has consequences for general health

Not only does periodontitis have a direct impact on the periodontium, but it is also closely linked to certain systemic diseases. The whole body therefore benefits from successful periodontal therapy

Doctors

Raised systemic markers of inflammation are measured in patients with periodontitis. The trigger for this is the chronic bacteremia associated with periodontitis. At times, the concentration of periodontopathogenic bacteria in the sulcus is in the million range. Teeth break through the junctional epithelium and therefore represent a potential point of entry into the body for bacteria and for the toxins they produce. Because the pocket epithelium is also often ulcerated in cases of profound periodontitis, they spread to the bloodstream very quickly.

Immune system response

A reflexive immune response can occur in response to bacteremia. Considerably higher leukocyte and CRP values are often measured in periodontitis patients than in individuals with a healthy periodontium. The Greifswald SHIP study also revealed a significant association between the two inflammation parameters, “white blood cell count” and “fibrinogen concentration”, and all periodontal parameters. The increase in these markers of systemic inflammation in itself indicates that the chronic infection, that may persist for a number of years, also has negative effects on general health. It is for this reason that one of the top priorities of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP) is to raise awareness of periodontitis, among both patients and doctors, as a widespread disease that should be taken seriously. The EFP “Periodontal health for a better life” campaign is also supported by the German Society of Periodontology (DG PARO), of course.

High risk patients benefit from periodontal treatment

Successful periodontal therapy and in particular reducing the numbers of periodontal marker bacteria can relieve the strain on the immune system and damp down inflammatory processes, thus leading to a fundamental improvement in general health. The dentist is thus in a way promoted to “health manager”, because by treating periodontal diseases he/she prevents their complications or detects them at an early stage. Especially high risk patients with coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus and rheumatism, as well as pregnant women benefit from a diagnosis-based periodontal treatment. Because improving periodontal health usually also has an impact on associated concomitant diseases.