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Approved Research

Periodontal diseases and other non-communicable diseases

Principal Investigator: Professor Francesco D'Aiuto
Approved Research ID: 62807
Approval date: January 21st 2021

Lay summary

Aim: To study the association between gum disease and other common chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and dementia.

Scientific  Rationale: There is plenty of evidence suggesting that gum disease could be linked to other common chronic diseases. Gum disease is a chronic infection/inflammation of the gums linked eventually to tooth loss. In particular it is known that inflammation of the gums is linked to a general body inflammation which could then impact on the start and progression of another systemic disease. In addition gum disease bacteria could enter into the blood vessel and cause negative effects on other organs (i.e. invading tissues and cause local inflammation).

The studies reporting on association between gum disease and general health are often done in small number of people and limited information is provided on the common genetic risks. This study aims at assessing in probably the largest data-set in the world the link between gum disease and a number of other common chronic diseases.

Project Duration

12 months from the delivery of data.

Public Health Impact: Only in the UK about 40% of the population suffers from some forms of gum disease. The NHS cost of dental treatment average to about 2.8billion per year and scale and polishing is probably the most common dental procedure performed in the NHS. Gum disease is often underdiagnosed for many years and this has shown to have a negative impact on people chewing/eating/socialising activities and overall quality of life.

Demonstrating a causal link between gum disease and some other chronic disorders could change dramatically the way medical and dental professionals manage their patients. Indeed, if proven causal the association between gum disease and common chronic diseases, oral health assessment would become a routine assessment in each patient. Emerging evidence already confirms that improving oral health (including gum disease) could result in a reduction of general health complications and overall medical costs for society. The analysis of this data-set could prove how important would be for public health stakeholders to improve the oral and overall health of the UK population and beyond.