Inflammatory bowel disease often coexists with periodontal disease.
In two new studies from Malmö University and elsewhere, scientists found that tooth loss is strongly linked to inflammatory bowel disease.
How is oral health actually affected by an inflammatory bowel disease? And how does the mouth affect our gut?
The fact that periodontitis can be linked to diabetes and heart disease is already well known; however, the link between periodontitis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is not as well explored.
In the two studies, researchers found that there is a strong connection between the diseases.
They found that patients with IBD have more periodontitis and fewer teeth compared to people without IBD.
They also see that patients with IBD and periodontitis have an aggravated intestinal disease with a higher activity than patients with IBD who have no oral health issues.
The team says both diseases can be described as a strong overreaction of the immune system against a theoretically relatively mild bacterial trigger. It means that the immune system attacks one’s own body.
In the research, around 1,100 patients answered questions in an online survey. Around half of the participants had Crohn’s disease and the other half had ulcerative colitis.
About 3,400 people without IBD also participated in the study, who were randomly selected but also matched for certain criteria to the patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
The investigation not only showed that patients with intestinal disease had worse oral health than people without IBD, but also that the oral health of patients with Crohn’s disease was more affected.
They lost more teeth than patients with ulcerative colitis.
It was well known within the association that many patients had recurring problems with their teeth and infections and ulcers in their mouths. At the same time, they felt that this was not really addressed during health checks.
Periodontitis initially causes relatively mild symptoms, such as bleeding gums when brushing the teeth, but can lead to tooth loss if not treated in time.
Similarly important, it may be that treatment of periodontitis has a positive impact on the management of IBD, the team suggests.
The study was conducted by Andreas Stavropoulos et al and published in the journals Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Journal of Clinical Periodontology.
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