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Oral Health Research Periodontics

Is there an association between periodontitis and systemic diseases?

In a Special Issue (April 2013), the Journal of Clinical Periodontology presented a series of articles that explored the association between periodontitis and some systemic diseases. The following is a summary of the introductory article: Infections and inflammatory mechanisms


The article examines the potential mechanisms that may play a role in the associations between periodontitis and some systemic conditions. Three basic mechanisms have been postulated to play a role in these interactions; metastatic infections, inflammation and inflammatory injury, and adaptive immunity. The potential role of each alone and together is considered in in vitro and animal studies and in human studies when available. The article is an overview of the field to set the stage for critical reviews.

Key Messages

  • It is suggested that periodontal disease is an independent predictor of several systemic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, preterm and low-birth-weight infants, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.
  • Although clinical proof of causality is elusive, it remains clear from the data that the three aspects of the pathogenesis of periodontal disease: infection, inflammation, and adaptive immunity all have a potential role and impact on the systemic inflammatory/immune response that either initiates or mediates a wide range of systemic diseases. 


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