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Gum Disease May Increase Risk of Developing A Chronic Disease

Periodontal disease, also called gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place. Without treatment, it can destroy the bone that supports the teeth. A first of its kind study has found that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and mental health problems.

For their study, the researchers compared the health records of 60,995 adults with periodontal disease to the records of 251,161 adults with no history of periodontal disease. They specifically looked at incidences of cardiovascular disease, mental health problems, cardiometabolic disorders, and autoimmune conditions. The participants had an average age of 44 and were followed for an average of 3.4 years.

Participants who had periodontal disease at the beginning of the study were found to have an increased risk of chronic diseases. The risk of cardiovascular disease was 18% higher and the risk of mental health problems was 37% higher. The risk of having a cardiometabolic condition was 7% higher, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 26% higher, and the risk of developing an autoimmune disease was 33% higher.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Birmingham. It was published online ahead of print on December 19, 2021, in the journal BMJ Open.

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