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Periodontitis — or serious gum disease — has been linked to a number of systemic diseases over the years. This mode of thinking actually had a false start at the beginning of the 20th century, however, a better understanding of the various disease processes that are involved in gum disease now allow for a much more realistic and scientific interpretation of things.
Diabetes, for example, has been shown to have a close two-way relationship with periodontitis, with an exhaustive wealth of scientific data being built up to back that up. An increased risk of a preterm, low birth weight, delivery is also being attributed to the presence of periodontitis, something that more and more gynecologists are paying close attention to.
What Is Periodontitis?
Periodontitis is an extension of the more common gingivitis. It is an inflammatory disease that affects the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums, the bone, and the periodontal ligament.
People who have periodontitis suffer from symptoms like bleeding gums, bad breath, and teeth which have become loose and even moved out of position. The origins of this disease are linked to the accumulation of microbial plaque around the teeth. It is an extremely slowly progressing disease in most cases and this is why most cases are reported during the fourth to fifth decade of life.
How Does Periodontitis Affect Other Systemic Diseases?
The basic reason why periodontitis has an effect on other diseases is because of inflammation. If we take all the surface area of the ligaments inflamed around each tooth, it would equal something near the size of a fist.
That is a pretty significant amount of your body releasing noxious inflammatory products into the blood stream. These pro-inflammatory products affect the functioning of enzymes and hormones all over the body.
Certain microbes like P.Gingivalis, which are known to play a causative role in periodontitis, also have been found to have an important part in the development of certain systemic diseases.
What Is A Preterm, Low Birth Weight Delivery?
As the name suggests, a baby who is born prematurely and is not of the optimum weight will fall into this category. There are a lot of reasons why a premature birth can occur or why a baby may not develop according to schedule and this makes it very difficult to pinpoint the effect of one single factor.
In fact, around 25% of preterm, low birth weight deliveries occur even though they have no apparent symptom or risk factor whatsoever. This helps put into perspective how much more research is needed in this field to fill the gaps in our knowledge.
Some of the problems associated with a premature delivery include an improper development of the immune system, making the child prone to diseases, low IQ and mental development later in life, neuromotor abnormalities, a higher incidence of behavioral problems and even a higher rate of neonatal deaths.
Doctors do everything that they can to prevent a preterm, low birth weight delivery and so any risk factor contributing to this condition should not be taken lightly.