Categories: Discussion

Periodontal Disease Association with Endometriosis

There are many links between periodontal disease (perio) and ones general health. More and more information from researchers all over the world comes in daily. Just recently, new studies by the University of Michigan Endometriosis Center reported the possibility that there is an association. Both are immune response impairments. In the study, women with endometriosis had a 57% higher likelihood of having perio issues than those without endometriosis. Over 4000 women were used in the study.

Endometriosis is an issue found in women of childbearing age. It is the thickening of the outside of the uterus, often causing pain, abnormal bleeding and sometimes infertility. There is no known conclusive cause for endometriosis. There are a number of treatments; each depending on age and desire to become pregnant. The treatments may involve medications such as pain relievers, hormone treatment, oral contraceptives and others. Surgery is another option for severe cases or in those treating infertility.

Periodontal disease is a chronic infectious inflammation found in the mouth. The word comes from “peri” meaning around and “dontal” meaning tooth. Eighty percent of all adults have had some degree of the disease. Perio infection (affecting soft tissue) and tooth decay (affecting hard tissue) are the most prevalent diseases on the planet earth, however, because it’s in the mouth, out-of-sight, it is often put out-of-mind. Symptoms include swollen gums, loose teeth, painful chewing, bleeding gums. However, some people have no outward symptoms. A dentist can determine if periodontal disease or gingivitis exists and to what extent.

The reason for the possible link is not clear. The researchers at University of Michigan concluded, “Although it is conceivable that the multifactorial development of endometriosis may be augmented by an immune response to an infectious agent, the potential underlying link between endometriosis and periodontal disease may be a generalized, global immune dysregulation.” References: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18394619)

Even though the study was not conclusive (most studies are not), it is just another indication that perio disease affects the whole body, not just the mouth. It is critical that women visit a dentist for regular six month check-ups and cleanings. If perio disease is present, it is also imperative that treatment be started. And most important, impeccable home oral care is necessary to keep teeth and gums healthy. The evidence points to reducing the risk of stroke by taking care of your mouth.

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