BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom (StudyFinds.org) – Poor dental health can also lead to poor mental health, a new study shows. Researchers at the University of Birmingham say that developing gum disease and dental problems may also increase a person’s risk of suffering from depression and anxiety in the next few years.
In addition to mental health problems, the study authors found that a history of gum disease can significantly increase a person’s likelihood of developing autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and even metabolic disorders like diabetes.
“Bad oral health is very common both here in the UK and around the world. A progressive oral disease can lead to a significant reduction in quality of life. So far, however, not much has been known about the connection between poor oral health and many chronic illnesses, especially mental illnesses, ”says co-lead author Dr. Joht Singh Chandan in a university press release.
The researchers examined the medical histories of more than 64,000 people with a history of periodontal disease during the study. These include gingivitis and periodontal disease – a severe inflammation of the gums that causes bleeding gums and can destroy the jawbone without immediate treatment. A total of 60,995 participants suffered from gingivitis and 3,384 from periodontitis.
The team compared these individuals to a quarter of a million healthy patients with no record of gum disease, including factors such as body mass index, smoking habits, and ethnicity.
The results show that those with periodontal disease at the start of the study were 37 percent more likely to develop mental health problems over the next three years. Study authors suggest that these problems include higher rates of depression, anxiety, and “major mental illness”.
Dental health is also linked to physical illness
In addition to anxiety and depression, the study finds that people with dental problems are 33 percent more likely to develop autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.
Previous studies have found a link between high blood pressure and gum disease. In addition, serious infections from periodontal disease can lead to heart and lung complications in patients who are not treated. With this in mind, the team discovered an 18 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with gum disease. This increases the risk of heart failure, stroke, and dementia. The likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes also increased by 26 percent.
“Since periodontal disease is very common, an increased risk of other chronic diseases can place a significant public health burden,” says Dr. Chandan.
“An important implication of our findings is the need for effective communication between dentists and other health professionals to ensure that patients receive an effective treatment plan that addresses both oral and general health in order to support their existing general health improve and reduce the risk of future diseases, ”adds co. added senior author Professor Krish Nirantharakumar.
The results will be published in the journal BMJ Open.