During the past decade the association between periodontal diseases and general diseases has attracted renewed research interest. The mouth has once again become an integral part of the rest of the human body. This review covers the possible associations between periodontal disease and diabetes, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, pulmonary diseases and depression and focuses on more recent publications.
A majority of published studies confirms support for a relationship between periodontal disease and diabetes mellitus. Treatments of periodontal disease including the use of local or systemic antibiotics have been shown to affect the glycemic control. From a clinical point of view diabetes should be regarded as one of the factors increasing the risk for periodontal disease.
At present there is but limited evidence that periodontitis is associated with an increased risk for coronary heart disease and further research is needed to explore such a relationship in prospective studies. Studies exploring whether periodontal treatment can reduce the risk for coronary heart disease are needed.
The extent of the relationship between osteoporosis and periodontal disease still remains uncertain. Sustained oral health and better tooth retention are potentially additional benefits of hormone replacement therapy after menopause.
Aspiration of oral microorganisms may contribute to the genesis of aspiration pneumonia. Poor dental health is a factor associated to aspiration pneumonia among elderly institutionalized and hospitalized individuals.
Key words: periodontitis, alveolar bone loss, systemic health, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, diabetes mellitus, depression, stress, osteoporosis, respiratory diseases, pulmonary diseases