Gum Disease Raises Risk of Mental Illness and Heart Disorders: Study | Health


Research conducted by the University of Birmingham has shown an increased risk of developing illnesses in patients, including mental health and heart problems.

The study was published in the ‘BMJ Open Journal’.


Experts conducted a one-of-a-kind study of GP records of 64,379 patients who had a history of periodontal disease recorded by the GP, including gingivitis and periodontitis (the condition that occurs if gum disease is left untreated and may lead to tooth loss). Of these, 60,995 had gingivitis and 3,384 had periodontitis. The records of these patients were compared with those of 251,161 patients who had no record of periodontal disease. Across the cohorts, the average age was 44 and 43 percent were male, while 30 percent were smokers. Body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, and levels of deprivation were also similar across groups.

READ ALSO : How Brushing Your Teeth Every Day Can Protect You From Heart Disease, Pneumonia


The researchers looked at the data to establish how many patients with and without periodontal disease develop cardiovascular disease (eg, heart failure, stroke, vascular dementia), cardiometabolic disorders (eg, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes), auto -immune (eg, arthritis, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis) and mental health issues (eg, depression, anxiety, and severe mental illness) over an average follow-up of about three years .

From the research, the team found that patients with a recorded history of periodontal disease at the start of the study were more likely to go on and be diagnosed with one of these additional conditions on an average of three. years, compared to those in the cohort without periodontal disease at the start of the research. The results of the study showed that in patients with a history of periodontal disease at the start of the study, the increased risk of developing mental illness was 37%, while the risk of developing autoimmune disease was. increased by 33%. percent, and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease increased by 18 percent, while the risk of having cardiometabolic disorder was increased by 7 percent (with a much higher increased risk for type 2 diabetes to 26 percent).

Co-first author Dr Joht Singh Chandan, Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham, said: “Poor oral health is extremely common, both here in the UK and in the world. As oral disease progresses, it can lead to a drastically reduced quality of life. However, until now, not much was known about the association of poor oral health and many chronic illnesses, especially poor mental health. Therefore, we have conducted one of the largest epidemiological studies of its kind to date, using UK primary care data to explore the association between periodontal disease and several chronic conditions. We found some evidence that periodontal disease appears to be associated with an increased risk of developing these associated chronic diseases. As periodontal disease is very common, an increased risk of other chronic diseases can represent a substantial public health burden.


The research was partly funded by the Versus Arthritis Musculoskeletal Aging Research Center, based at the University of Birmingham, and supported by the Birmingham Biomedical Research Center of the National Institute for Health Research ( NIHR).

Caroline Aylott, head of research at Versus Arthritis, said: “Some of the biggest challenges of arthritis, particularly autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which affects 400,000 people in the UK, are find out who is most at risk of developing it and find ways to prevent it. Previous studies have shown that people with RA were four times more likely to have gum disease than their counterparts without RA and that it tended to be more severe. This research provides further clear evidence why Healthcare professionals need to be vigilant about the early signs of gum disease and how it can have far-reaching implications for a person’s health, reinforcing the importance take a holistic approach when treating people.


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