Periodontal disease is an inflammatory disease, and the mouth is the number one cause of inflammation worldwide. But as we know, it doesn’t just affect the mouth.
Periodontitis induces a systemic inflammatory response, and even low-grade systemic inflammation can cause problems over a prolonged period of time. Couple that with other common inflammatory conditions like diabetes, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious health problems down the road.
And according to researchers in Japan, this kind of chronic inflammation can lead to neuroinflammation, paving the road for the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
In their study, which was published in the Journal of Oral Biosciences, the researchers concluded:
“Effective management of periodontitis may contribute to prevention of AD, as periodontitis is both treatable and preventable. Therefore, brain health, which includes oral health as a contributing factor, is a promising strategy for achieving healthy life expectancy.”
In just a few years, we as a profession have gone from questioning the validity of a connection between oral health and systemic health to including good oral health as a contributing factor to healthy life expectancy.
Lifestyle-related diseases account for a considerable portion of healthcare costs and complications in this country. Research has shown that nearly half of all health-care expenses in the United States come from preventable chronic illnesses. Addressing the impact of oral biofilm and inflammation is arguably one of the easiest and most impactful ways to reduce the burden of pathogens and inflammation from the mouth that influence so many of our most debilitating diseases.