Gum disease linked to increased psoriasis risk
People with chronic gum disease may be more likely to develop the skin disease psoriasis, according to a new study conducted by Taiwanese scientists.
Researchers at Taipei Medical University looked at data on 115,365 people with gum disease whose records featured in a Taiwanese national health system database.
They also studied a similar number of people without gum disease and then looked to see how many members of each group develop psoriasis over the next five years.
The number of cases of psoriasis was noticeably higher among the group of people with gum disease, suggesting there may be a link between the two conditions or between certain shared risk factors, such as smoking.
Overall, people with severe gum disease were 54 per cent more likely to develop psoriasis over the five-year period than those with healthy gums.
Published in the British Journal of Dermatology, the findings provide yet another reason to maintain good oral hygiene and make regular trips to the dental practice.
Dr Joel Gelfand, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in the research, told Reuters Health: "We don't know very much about what the risk factors are for chronic inflammatory diseases like psoriasis.
"This study points in a potentially new direction for a potential risk factor that - in theory - could be modified and thus lower the risk of psoriasis in the future."
However, the expert noted that further research is needed to verify the findings and confirm whether or not there is indeed a link between gum disease and psoriasis.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said people should remain vigilant about their oral health.
"The findings in this research paper are the latest in a growing number that link periodontal disease to a number of other chronic and serious health conditions," he observed.
"It sends out a further message about the importance of looking after your oral health and taking preventive action by maintaining a regular oral health routine."
The finding also means dentists may have yet another reason to encourage patients to stock up on dental supplies and look after their oral health properly.