Periodontal Disease Influencing Psoriasis

Those with periodontal disease are over 50% more likely to have psoriasis than those that don't have the oral infection. Another trigger for psoriasis may be periodontal disease. And this is another reason to maintain good oral health.

From time to time, we may wonder if one disease in the body may cause another disease to crop up. It may seem strange how some seemingly unrelated diseases are linked, but as more and more research is done, we find those links do exist. Take psoriasis, an autoimmune disease (as is rheumatoid arthritis). It has recently been reported that periodontal disease may be linked to it.

Psoriasis is a skin condition that, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 7.5 million Americans suffers from. When a person's immune system sends out faulty signals that increase the speed at which skin cells grow the result is red, raised patches of skin covered with silvery dead skin cells. It is one of the most prevalent auto immune diseases in the United States and 2-3% of the world's population has it. Unfortunately, 10-30% of those with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis can be found on the face and scalp, genitals, skin folds (armpits and under breasts), hands and feet, and nails. Although 10% of the population has the gene for psoriasis, only about 2-3% actually gets it. Researchers have established "triggers" that they feel trip the gene. These include stress, injury to the skin, and some medications such as antimalarial drugs, beta blockers, lithium and non-steroidal,anti-inflammatory drugs. Now there may even be another trigger: periodontal disease.

A five year study involving over 230,000 recently published in the British Journal of Dermatology indicated that people with gum disease were 54% more likely to have psoriasis. Out of a data base, the researchers chose half the group with periodontal disease, and the other half without. They then looked at the collected data and identified who developed psoriasis over the next five years. Although the study had its limitations - it did not account for other factors that could have influenced psoriasis (i.e. cigarette smoking) - it does question what the underlying cause of the disease is. It challenges the longstanding thinking about psoriasis. There needs to be more specific studies that isolate periodontal disease and psoriasis to pinpoint the link.

This study like others, points to the influence periodontal disease has on the entire body, not just the mouth. In the past decade, periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, COPD, diabetes, obesity, endometriosis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, prostatitis, kidney cancer, colon cancer, low birth weights in children, and Alzheimer's. So what can you do to reduce the risks of these diseases? Take care of your teeth! Insure that you thoroughly clean your teeth at least twice daily. Get at least two professional dental cleanings every year. In fact, new evidence points to getting cleanings every three months instead of six months especially if you have a history of any of the systemic diseases.