Epidemiological evidence highlights that periodontal diseases are the most common conditions across Europe, while being the least acknowledged for its far-reaching impact in society. Statistics show that countries such as the UK, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland have the lowest reported tooth loss and prevalence of severe periodontal pocketing.
Despite this, it has been noted that eight out of ten people aged over 35 suffer from some form of ailment relating to their gum tissues. Due to the links between oral health and systemic conditions such as Diabetes, Heart Disease and Hypertension, periodontal diseases result in significant GDP expenditure in adult and elderly populations.
- The infection of the periodontal tissues (teeth, periodontal ligament, cementum and alveolar bone) is caused by cytokines, potent inflammatory agents released from immune cells
- According to the European Federation for Periodontology, periodontal disease not only affects chewing function and aesthetics in individuals, but also causes disability, leads to social inequality, reduces quality of life and has a significant impact upon escalating public health costs
- There is a growing body of evidence that shows a relationship between periodontal disease and systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and adverse pregnancy outcomes
- At the same time, periodontal disease has also been proven to exacerbate certain systemic conditions, evidenced by the prevalence of certain pro-inflammatory components
How dental practitioners can help
- Preventive measures should be advocated by the dental and medical professions from when children are born to avoid an entirely preventable disease
- Brushing with fluoride and interdental cleaning as part of a regular home care regime will contribute to periodontal disease prevention