Your oral health may be an important marker when it comes to the risk of developing other diseases.
A first of its kind study out of the UK looked at the link between periodontal (gum) disease and the development of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease and mental health disorders.
Researchers looked at the health records of 64,379 patients with previous histories of gingivitis and periodontitis. These records were compared to those of 251,161 patients who had no history of gum disease. Both groups were analyzed for their overall risk of developing a variety of chronic diseases.
- Those who had a history of gum disease had a 37% increased risk of developing a mental health condition.
- They also had a 33% increased risk of developing an autoimmune disease, an 18% increased risk of developing a cardiovascular disease and a 26% increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- The patients with poor oral health at the start of the study were more likely to develop one of these conditions within 3 years than those who had no history of periodontal disease.
When it comes to your overall health, your oral health truly matters. This was the first large epidemiological study to find evidence of a link between poor oral health and the risk of other, more serious diseases down the line.
So while we may focus on filling cavities when needed or the bare minimum of brushing and flossing, it is imperative to consider the health of your mouth to be just as important as the health of your whole body.