Periodontal Gum Disease – The Mouth-Body Connection
In July 1998, the American Academy of Periodontology launched an effort to educate the public about new findings which support what dental professionals had long suspected: Infections in the mouth can play havoc elsewhere in the body. For a long time it was thought that bacteria was the factor that linked periodontal disease to other infections in the body, however, new research demonstrates that inflammation may link periodontal disease to other chronic conditions.
Research has shown, and experts agree, that there is an association between periodontal diseases and other chronic inflammatory conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
When an inflammatory condition is suspected or diagnosed, it is important to consult with both a general physician and a dental health professional, such as a periodontist. Sometimes the only way to detect periodontal diseases is through a periodontal evaluation. A periodontal evaluation may be especially important if you:
- Have a high risk for periodontal diseases. Take the AAP risk assessment test.
- Have heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease or osteoporosis, or are thinking of becoming pregnant.
- Have a family member with periodontal disease. Research suggests that the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can pass through saliva. This means the common contact of saliva in families puts children and couples at risk for contracting the periodontal disease of another family member.
- Have a sore or irritation in your mouth that does not get better within two weeks.
Inflammation and Periodontal Diseases
Journal of Periodontology Supplement on Inflammation
In January 2008 the Academy held a workshop on inflammation, inviting a select group of medical and dental experts on the subject of inflammation. The proceedings from the supplement were published in August 2008, and are available online at the links below.
- Journal of Periodontology Supplement Inflammation and Periodontal Diseases: A Reappraisal
- Dr. Robert Genco’s paper, which appeared in the supplement, discusses the clinical implications of managing inflammation and periodontal diseases.
- Press Release announcing the supplement "Inflammation and Periodontal Diseases: A Reappraisal" supplement
Academy 2008 Workshop on Inflammation
- Academy Partners with Colgate-Palmolive on Inflammation Initiatives
- Academy Hosts Landmark Workshop on Inflammation
- Four Perspectives on the 2008 AAP Inflammation Workshop—This AAP News article provides four individual’s perspective on the key take-home messages from the workshop.
Find Out More
- AAP news releases on periodontal disease as a potential risk factor for other systemic diseases
- Journal of Periodontology abstracts on systemic conditions to which periodontal disease has been linked
- What’s Your Periodontal Disease Risk? Take AAP’s Self-Test
- Encias sanas y cuerpo sano ("Mouth Body Connection" Article in Spanish)