Dental Implant TEAM Network
The oral cavity is the gateway to the body since periodontal pathogens from the oral cavity can make their way to the stomach and intestinal tract when food is chewed and mixed with saliva. Furthermore, air passing through the nose and mouth to enter the trachea and lungs can carry the periodontal pathogens with it. The oral microflora--with its several distinct microbial habitats within the oral cavity such as teeth, gingival sulcus, attached gingiva, tongue, cheek, lip, hard palate, and soft palate--create a significant probability of spreading the contagion by also crossing the blood barrier through an impaired epithelial lining. There is accumulating evidence on linking oral bacteria to a number of systemic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, preterm low-birth-weight babies, and pneumonia. Periodontal disease poses a serious threat to the immune-compromised patients, including those with diabetes and respiratory disorders. The inflammatory process of chronic periodontal disease may perpetuate or exacerbate other health conditions of Crohn’s disease, arthritis and ulcerative colitis. Furthermore, abdominal obesity, HDL cholesterol levels, elevated blood pressure, triglycerides and fasting glucose levels also have been associated with periodontal disease. This presentation will review the key links of certain systemic diseases with periodontal disease and address the integral role of oral healthcare providers in the early assessment, awareness, promotion, prevention, and management of sometimes preventable periodontal disease since it can potently affect co-morbid systemic conditions.