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Paper Connects the Dots On Systemic Diseases and Oral Health

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close up of p gingivalis
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Researchers suggest a principal pathogen associated with periodontitis may be the root cause of other systemic diseases. Appearing in Pathogens, findings from the paper, “Porphyromonas gingivalis and Its Systemic Impact: Current Status,” provide a comprehensive update of P. gingivalis-related systemic diseases, including atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. 

Unlike other research projects that focus on the relationship between P. gingivalis and one specific disease, this investigation provides a more comprehensive understanding of the pathogen and its relationship with a variety of systemic diseases, as well as the internal mechanisms possibly related to that association. 

Previous studies report this pathogen may drive the development of chronic conditions, including Type 2 diabetes and cancer. P. gingivalis has also been linked to depression and adverse pregnancy outcomes. This review supports those findings and provides additional evidence showing direct and indirect links between P. gingivalis and myocardial infarction, hypertension, abdominal aortic aneurysms, pancreatic and esophageal cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia.

Work is also progressing on a vaccine against P. gingivalis — a development that could have far-reaching consequences for patients’ oral and systemic health. 

From Decisions in Dentistry. October 2021;7(10)6.

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