Link: Periodontitis and other complications

There are various indicators that suggest that periodontitis is associated with other diseases besides diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, etc. Examples of these include pneumonia, kidney disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

There is increasing evidence to suggest that periodontal infections are associated with many systemic diseases. The presence of periodontopathogenic bacteria increases the risk of pneumonia by a factor of up to 7 in elderly, dependent people, for example. A marked increase in the risk of mortality was identified in patients with chronic kidney disease with concomitant periodontal disease. According to a recent study, there is evidence that existing periodontitis might also be associated with the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients.

The link between cancers and periodontitis is also currently being studied actively. Initial studies suggest that profound periodontal disease is associated with a marked increase in the risk of cancer of the lungs, pancreas and head, neck and esophagus. Periodontitis-associated bacteria such as P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum might play a part in this by stimulating tumor growth by means of direct interaction with epithelial cells. These multifaceted interrelationships show clearly that there is much more to periodontal therapy than dental care. It is therefore all the more important for dentists, general practitioners and patients to be aware of this and work together effectively.