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Premature Birth and Gum Disease Link - Periodontal Ailments Linked to Heart Illness, Early Births and Type 2 Diabetes

February 27th 2006

Premature Birth and Gum Disease Link - Periodontal Ailments Linked to Heart Illness, Early Births and Type 2 Diabetes

Periodontal Disease

New research reinforces the belief that there is a connection between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, as well as premature births.  Now it appears that one way to reduce the risk of heart disease may be to manage other risk factors for the disease as well, including dental hygiene.  Dr. Moise Desyarieux, MD said "It appears a relationship exists, but we don't know exactly what it is and if it is a causal relationship.  Therefore, we can't make recommendations for people with periodontal disease in respect to cardiovascular disease." 

Dr. Desvarieux is an infectious disease epidemiologist in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.  His team coordinated the (INVEST) study to investigate the oral health-cardiovascular disease relationship.

The main risk factors for cardiovascular disease should also be addressed.  Dr. Desvarieux said "To reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease, patients must manage all their risk factors, including smoking, diabetes, and weight."    

 

To date, most of the research in this area revolved around dentists manually probing the gums looking for signs of periodontal disease and inflammation.  They measured pocket depth and spacing around each tooth.  Then the researchers would look for fatty acid buildup in the carotid artery.  If this buildup was present, it is a good chance that the patient had arthrosclerosis, and this is a direct link to future stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Now Dr. Desvarieux’s in a collaborative effort with researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine and neurologists at the College of Physicians & Surgeons at Columbia University Medical Center added a new dimension to the analysis. Dr. Desvarieux explains “Our research brings in the microbiological factors that may connect the two diseases.  We analyzed bacterial samples from the oral cavity, three of which are specifically associated with periodontal disease. We found that those patients with one or any combination of these three bacteria also had atherosclerosis.”

 

Recently ABC News reported that gum / periodontal disease may be linked with premature births.  This may shed light on why one in 10 pregnant women gives birth prematurely.

According to the report, pregnant women are more likely to develop swollen or inflamed gums because of the sweeping hormonal changes that occur after conception.  These changes are usually temporary. 

It is important to treat these conditions in pregnant women.  ABC reported “that women who had moderate-to-severe periodontal disease during pregnancy had an increased risk of pre-term delivery, even when factors like race, smoking and behavioral attitudes were taken into account.”

Scientists are not sure why this happens.  It is possible that oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and baby.  This may alert the immune system to send the baby now.  There is also a chemical found in oral bacteria, called prostaglandin, which can induce labor.

It is estimated that a fifth of the premature births could be prevented.  Dr. Steven Offenbacher told ABC that one in 5 premature births could be prevented by treating periodontal disease.  He is a periodontics professor at the University Of North Carolina School Of Dentistry.  He added that insurance companies have begun offering aggressive prenatal dental care to pregnant women.

 

United Press International reported that obesity is a predictor of periodontal disease.  According to the researchers, the severity of the disease increased in tandem with insulin resistance.  This research was done by Robert Genco of the University of Buffalo.  He said that people with a high body mass index produce cytokines or hormone-like proteins that help create inflammation and insulin resistance. 

The data was extrapolated from the third national Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  The UPI report included a statement by Dr. Kenneth A. Krebs “The presence of periodontal infection combined with obesity may contribute to type 2 diabetes and its complications, such as coronary heart disease."

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Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Keywords and misspellings: Pariadontal periodontal pareodental pereodontal pereodental higene hygene priatal prenatal pre-natal


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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:50 PM