9 of the scariest medical conditions with links to oral health

March 1, 2016

There’s been a lot of buzz about oral systemic health in the news lately, and for good reason: A whole host of new discoveries have pinpointed that poor oral health is linked to some very serious medical conditions - and that treating oral health conditions could potentially serve as a preventative measure.

 There’s been a lot of buzz about oral systemic health in the news lately, and for good reason: A whole host of new discoveries have pinpointed that poor oral health is linked to some very serious medical conditions - and that treating oral health conditions could potentially serve as a preventative measure.

Oral bacteria have long been known to play a role in overall health, but lately periodontal disease and the bacteria that cause it have been specifically linked to health conditions including several types of cancer, pulmonary infection, heart attack, stroke and more. Researchers are hard at work pinpointing whether treating oral health issues could lessen the risk of these serious medical events, but for now, it’s critical to recognize the link and impress upon dental patients the importance of good oral health - because their lives could depend on it.

Click through the following pages to see nine of the most serious, scary medical conditions that researchers have linked to poor oral health. 

 

 

 

 

Kidney disease

Good oral health can be the difference between life and death for some patients with kidney disease: New findings from the University of Birmingham show that patients with chronic kidney disease patients and periodontitis have a higher mortality rate than those with chronic kidney disease alone.

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

Stroke

In a study of patients entering the hospital for acute stroke, researchers have discovered a connection between certain types of stroke and the presence of oral bacteria.

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

 

Breast cancer

Periodontal disease has been linked to a host of medical problems, but now researchers say there’s another risk to be added to the list: breast cancer. Recent research discovered that postmenopausal women with periodontal disease are more likely to develop the cancer than those without the oral health condition.

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

Respiratory infections

Being in the hospital is bad enough without developing secondary infections. New research shows vulnerable patients in the ICU who received enhanced oral care from a dentist were at significantly less risk for developing a lower respiratory tract infection, like ventilator-associated pneumonia, during their stay in the hospital.

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

 

Esophageal cancer

In recent months, gum disease has been linked to increasing number of major health problems - and researchers have now discovered another illness to add to the list: esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is difficult to diagnose, as by the time patients show symptoms -such as difficulty swallowing-most are in very advanced stages of the disease.  According to one study, the overall five-year survival rate for esophageal cancer is only around 15%, making prognosis for the disease incredibly grim. If oral bacteria is a contributing factor in the cancer, it is possible preventative measures could be taken.

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

Cardiovascular events

Want to avoid a heart attack? Take good care of your teeth. A recent study found that tooth loss could be a predictor for future cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarctions and even death.

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

Alzheimer’s disease

The debate about potential links between Alzheimer’s disease and dental infection and treatment has been grabbing headlines recently. Now, two researchers have examined an extensive collection of research and determined a potential correlation between the disease and oral bacteria.  

Read more here.

 

 

 

 

HIV

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland have found a critical reason to treat periodontal disease as soon as possible. In a recent study, they discovered the byproducts of bacteria in gum disease, called metabolic small chain fatty acid (SCFA), can work together to activate HIV in dormant T-cells, causing the virus to replicate.

Read more here.


 

Prostate disease

Researchers from the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine and the Departments of Urology and Pathology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center reported that treating gum disease reduced symptoms of prostate inflammation.

Read more here.