Brushing your teeth could save your life

Brushing your teeth could save your life

According to epidemiological studies, periodontal diseases affect up to 90% of the global population, making it one of the most prevalent diseases worldwide[1]. The repercussions of this go far beyond aesthetics, but impacts on the overall health of the population. Periodontal disease has been linked to diseases and complications such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and preterm labour.

Periodontal disease releases a large amount of bacteria, toxins and inflammatory mediators, which can enter the bloodstream and affect different organs. These inflammatory mediators have been linked to the initiation and increase of lesions and clots in the artery, ultimately leading to an increased risk of coronary heart disease or stroke[2].

Periodontal disease also has a two-way relationship with diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor for severe periodontal disease, which in turn, has also been shown to increase the severity of diabetes by jeopardising glycaemic control. The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease suggests that in order to control diabetes, it is essential to first control periodontal disease. Studies have shown that the use of antibiotics to eliminate periodontal infection has improved the control of diabetes by the reduction of blood glucose levels[3].

Studies have also shown there is statistically significant relationship between periodontal disease and preterm labour[4].

While there are many reasons to keep good oral hygiene, the relationship between periodontal disease and these serious health issues shows the importance of thorough brushing and regular check ups of your teeth.


[1] Albandar JM, Rams TE. Periodontol 2000 Global epidemiology of periodontal diseases 29. Copenhagen, Denmark: Munksgaard Blacwells, 2002.

[2] Beck J, Carcia R et al. Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease. J Perio. 1996;67;1123-1137

[3] Grossi SG, Genco RJ. Periodontal Disease and Diabetes Mellitus: A Two-Way Relationship. Annals of Periodontolody 1998;3;51-56


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