Patients having a history of gum disease are prone to developing illnesses, including mental health concerns and heart conditions, said a study conducted by researchers of the UK’s University of Birmingham. The study is published in BMJ Open Journal, a peer-reviewed open-access medical journal. The study found that if gum diseases are not treated properly, not only do they damage teeth but also cause other health disorders.
Experts carried out the first of its kind study of the GP records or medical records of 64,379 patients who had a GP-inputted recorded history of periodontal (gum-related) disease. They analysed the data of patients, who had gingivitis — a condition in which gums, especially around the teeth, become swollen and bleed easily — and periodontitis — the condition that occurs if gum disease is left untreated and can lead to tooth loss. Of these 64,379 patients, 60,995 had gingivitis and 3,384 had periodontitis. The medical records of these patients were compared with the records of 2,51,161 other patients who had no record of periodontitis.
Based on this sample data, the researchers tried to find out the number of people who did not have periodontitis but suffered from heart failure, cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, cardiometabolic disorders — such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and other serious mental diseases, including depression and anxiety.
After three years of research, the observations were made in a study and published in BMJ Open Journal.
The researchers found that patients who had periodontitis had either suffered or were at high risk for other diseases within three years. An analysis of the data found that those who had periodontitis at the start of the study have a 37 percent higher risk of developing psychosis — a condition that affects the way your brain processes information.
In patients with gingivitis and periodontitis, the risk of autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, type-1 diabetes was 33 percent, the risk of cardiovascular disease was 18 percent and the risk of cardiometabolic disorders was 7 percent. Of the total patients studied, the highest 26 percent risk was of having developed diabetes type 2 disease.
Co-Author of the study Dr Joht Singh Chandan, of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Applied Health Research, that poor oral health can lead to a substantially reduced quality of life.
“This research provides further clear evidence why healthcare professionals need to be vigilant for early signs of gum disease and how it can have wide-reaching implications for a person’s health,” he said.