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Review article

Periodontal diseases as a risk factor

Darije Plančak
Ivan Puhar

Full text: english pdf 282 Kb

page 39-46

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There is an increasing body of evidence in periodontology that speaks in favor of the association between human chronic inflammatory diseases and opportunistic infections. Considering their frequency and microbiological etiology, periodontal diseases, especially severe periodontitis, have become subjects of many studies. Periodontitis is a major infectious threat to the whole organism, since it can affect distant organs and tissues by releasing microbes, their products and mediators of inflammation into the bloodstream. This fact has reduced the boundaries between medicine and dentistry, but the change in thinking has developed an entirely new field of periodontology, also known as “periodontal medicine”.
Over the past decade a growing body of scientific evidence shows a strong connection between periodontal disease and systemic conditions and diseases such as atherosclerosis, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, premature birth, diabetes and respiratory diseases. Most of the research has been focused on the relationship between periodontal disease and atherosclerosis since they have many common, potential pathophysiological mechanisms, including complex etiology, and share many risk factors, especially smoking history. There is data linking periodontitis with an increased risk for atherosclerosis and thromboembolic events. Periodontitis in pregnant women may increase the risk for preterm birth and low birth-weight. The role of diabetes as a risk factor for periodontal disease has been investigated earlier, but a number of studies suggest that there may be a two-way relationship, in accordance with the concept that infection may weaken metabolic control of diabetes.
The results of numerous studies and the development of periodontal medicine have led to productive cooperation with colleagues in medicine, and discovered many new evidences that suggest that the oral cavity is an integral part of the human body, and that systemic health must include oral and periodontal health.


periodontal medicine; periodontitis; systemic disease; cardiovascular diseases; premature birth; diabetes; respiratory diseases

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