Periodontal disease and its association with systemic disease

Mil Med. 2001 Jan;166(1):85-9.


Periodontal diseases are oral disorders characterized by inflammation of the supporting tissues of the teeth. Usually, periodontitis is a progressively destructive loss of bone and periodontal ligament (loss of the attachment apparatus of the teeth). Periodontitis has documented risk factors, including but not limited to specific plaque bacteria, smoking, and diabetes mellitus. Initially, the link between systemic disease and periodontal diseases was thought to be unidirectional. Currently, there is increasing evidence that the relationship between these entities may be bidirectional. Recent case-control and cross-sectional studies indicate that periodontitis may confer a 7-fold increase in risk for preterm low birth weight infants and a 2-fold increase in risk for cardiovascular disease. These early reports indicate the potential association between systemic and oral health. Additionally, these studies support the central hypothesis that periodontal disease involves both a local and a systemic host inflammatory response. This knowledge of disease interrelationships may prove vital in intervention strategies to reduce patient risks and prevent systemic disease outcomes. Based on the current evidence of the periodontal-systemic disease connection, the purpose of this report is to help establish the groundwork for closer communication between physicians and periodontists in the military health care setting.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dental Plaque / complications
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inflammation
  • Military Dentistry
  • Periodontal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Periodontal Diseases / etiology*
  • Periodontal Diseases / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects