The reduction of the jaw bone and the loosening of the teeth are widely known as consequences of the infectious disease periodontitis. Unfortunately little is known that the bacterial infection is not limited to the gums. Through the blood stream bacteria can reach other areas of the body, cause inflammations and lead to systemic diseases. However latest studies show that periodontitis can be linked with other diseases.
There is evidence that chronic infections in the mouth are caused by clogged arteries and blood clots. This was proven by different studies. Periodontal bacteria produce substances which can reach the blood stream. This causes a chain reaction and leads to deposits on the artery walls. For patients with periodontitis the risk to suffer from heart disease is twice as high. Latest scientific studies substantiate that especially men over 60 are faced with a high risk of stroke (apoplexia).
Bacterial pneumonia occurs primarily when bacteria from the mouth and throat are inhaled to the lungs and the immune system cannot eliminate them fast enough. Studies of patients with periodontitis could verify microorganisms which cause pneumonia, a fact which is especially important for elderly, bed ridden patients.
Studies of pregnant women in the United States show that the risk of premature birth is seven-fold in women who have untreated periodontitis. Periodontal bacteria produce molecules which release prostaglandin, a contraction triggering hormone.
The interaction between periodontitis and diabetes has been known for a long period of time. Patients who suffer from diabetes run a higher risk of infections in the mouth. However latest studies give evidence that periodontitis can cause diabetes and/or make it worse. Diabetics who suffer from a severe case of periodontitis have more problems to achieve a normal blood sugar level.