Periodontitis, Low-Grade Inflammation and Systemic Health: A Scoping Review

Medicina (Kaunas). 2020 May 30;56(6):272. doi: 10.3390/medicina56060272.


Background and objectives: Periodontitis is a multifactorial chronic inflammatory infectious disease in which an infection is necessary, but not sufficient, for development of the condition. Individual susceptibility strictly linked to the immune and inflammatory response of the organism must also be present. Low-grade inflammation (LGI) is a systemic status of chronic sub-clinical production of inflammatory factors. This condition represents a risk factor for many chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease and cancer. This scoping review aims to clarify, summarize and disseminate current knowledge on the possible link between periodontitis, LGI and systemic health. Materials and Methods: PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews guidelines were followed. An ad-hoc created keyword string was used to search the electronic databases of PubMed/Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and A hand search of specialized journals and their reference lists was also performed. Results: 14 studies that respected eligibility criteria were selected and analyzed. There is emerging evidence of strong links between periodontitis, LGI and systemic health. On the one hand, periodontitis influences the systemic status of LGI and on the other hand, the systemic production of inflammatory factors affects periodontitis with a bidirectional connection. Conclusions: LGI and the subsequent onset of a systemic inflammatory phenotype can be considered the common substrate of many chronic inflammatory diseases including periodontitis, with multiple mutual connections between them. Understanding of the biological principles and mechanisms underlying such a complex interrelationship could lead to significant improvements in the field of personalized diagnostics and therapeutic protocols.

Keywords: inflammatory markers; inflammatory status; low-grade inflammation; periodontitis; systemic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Periodontitis / complications*
  • Periodontitis / physiopathology