Tuesday 12 January 2021

Oral Infections and Systemic Diseases

Can oral and dental diseases be the cause of systemic disease?

 Most certainly, the oral cavity and teeth are the most infectious focus in our body, which is why they can be the reason for the onset of focal disease outside the oral cavity.

What is focal infection and focal disease? 

Any inflammation that is focused and localized somewhere in the body and poses a potential threat to spread to certain remote areas of the body whether it is down to the mediastinum or up to the brain is a focal focus or infection. Diseases of distant organs and systems that are caused by limited pathological processes in the body are called focal diseases.

What is the role of oral foci in the general wellbeing ?

Periodontal disease is considered to be the main oral focus, so periodontal pathogens as well as their toxins such as cytolytic enzymes and lipopolysaccharides can penetrate the bloodstream through the damaged epithelium of the periodontal pocket. In addition, inflamed gingival tissue produces a number of cytokines such as: (TNF-α), (IL) -1β, (PGE2), as well as interferon γ. These cytokines can enter the bloodstream and cause global inflammatory burden on the body. Thus, systemic exposure to periodontal pathogens, their toxins as well as inflammatory mediators as a consequence of periodontal disease, can cause pathological changes in distant organs and systems.

 Which diseases are most commonly associated with oral infections?

 Oral infections and foci such as caries, gingivitis and periodontitis are most often linked to: 
- cardiovascular diseases
- premature delivery 
- pulmonary infections 
- Rheumatoid arthritis 
- diabetes 
- osteoporosis 
- pancreatic cancer 
- metabolic syndrome 
- chronic kidney disease 
- Alzheimer's disease

What is your recommendation for patients? 

We must point out to patients the potential negative effects of periodontitis to their overall health. Therefore, it is very important to suggest patients to maintain regular oral hygiene and emphasize the importance of  gingivitis recognition and periodontitis as well as their treatment on time. There is a growing evidence that inflammation as a result of periodontal disease endangers the systemic health. It is essential that for the proper treatment and management of patients there is a connection and strong cooperation between dentists and doctors from other medical branches such as internists.

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