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Gum disease can harm your heart and mind more than you think, Study shows

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Patients with a history of gum disease have a higher risk of developing illnesses such as mental illness and heart disease, says a new study carried out by the University of Birmingham researchers.

It was a first-of-its-kind study that looked at the records of 64,379 patients who had been told by their doctor that they had gingivitis or periodontitis (the condition that occurs if gum disease is left untreated and can lead to tooth loss).

60,995 had gingivitis, while 3,384 had periodontitis. The data of these patients were compared to 251,161 patients without periodontal disease. The cohorts’ average age was 44, with 43% being male and 30% being smokers. BMI, ethnicity, and deprivation were also consistent.

Using the data, researchers were able to determine how many patients with and without periodontal disease developed a new cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart failure; stroke; vascular dementia), cardiometabolic disorders, autoimmune conditions (e.g., arthritis; Type 1 diabetes; psoriasis), and mental ill-health (e.g., depression, anxiety, and serious mental illness) over an average follow-up period of around three years.

They found that those patients who had the periodontal disease when they started the study were more likely to be diagnosed with one of these other conditions over an average of three years than those who didn’t have periodontal disease at all.

The study’s findings revealed that patients with a history of periodontal disease had a 37% higher risk of developing mental illness, a 33% higher risk of developing autoimmune disease, an 18% higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and a 7% higher risk of having a cardiometabolic disorder (with the increased risk much higher for Type 2 diabetes at 26%).

Source: BMJ

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