Did you know that almost 1 out of 5 adults worldwide has a severe gum disease? It's a condition where the tissues that hold our teeth in place get infected and left untreated; it can cause damage to bones in our mouth and lead to tooth loss.
But that's not all. Gum disease can also affect our overall health in other ways. Studies have shown that it can increase the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and respiratory disease.
However, King's College London researchers have found that a commonly prescribed diabetic drug can help improve the health of people with gum disease, even if they don't. This drug can also help prevent bone loss caused by either gum disease or ageing, as shown in both mouse and clinical trials.
This study focused on using metformin, a common type 2 diabetes drug, as its primary focus. The study results were published in the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences at King's College London.
Previous research has shown that metformin, a medication commonly used to treat diabetes, has anti-inflammatory properties that can protect against various conditions like cancer, heart disease, and liver disease.
Some recent studies have also suggested that metformin may have anti-ageing effects and can help reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
A new study found that metformin can reduce the levels of AGEs, which are markers of ageing, by improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood glucose levels.
Initially, metformin was evaluated in a mouse model of periodontal disease. Results revealed that metformin effectively prevented bone loss during induced periodontal disease and age-related bone loss in living mice.
Researchers were surprised to find that metformin significantly improved the health of ageing individuals and prevented 50% of bone loss. Subsequently, a clinical trial involving 20 participants with gum disease but without diabetes demonstrated that metformin improved clinical outcomes in gum disease treatment.
Furthermore, metformin effectively managed sugar levels and reduced inflammation in both the mouth and the body, even in high bacteria levels.
Preventive measures against gum disease may need to go beyond conventional oral hygiene practices, such as tooth brushing. Both animal and patient data have shown positive outcomes with metformin, even in high levels of oral bacteria. This prompts the question of whether alternative approaches are needed to prevent gum disease development.
Furthermore, the clinical data indicates that metformin could enhance the overall health of individuals with gum disease. This is attributed to its ability to stabilize glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and control inflammation. These markers are directly linked to improving ageing, suggesting that preventing systemic diseases originating from the mouth could be a promising strategy for preventing overall systemic diseases.
When we don't care for our teeth, bacteria can gather and form a sticky substance called plaque.
The result can be gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. We can remove most plaque by brushing our teeth twice daily and flossing daily.
Professional dental cleaning is the only way to remove it if you don't remove it.
If we don't treat gum disease, the infection can spread to the tissues around our teeth, which can cause bone and tooth loss.
Preventing periodontal disease is the best way to keep your teeth healthy. Regular brushing and flossing will help you achieve this, as will regular checkups and cleanings at the dentist every six months.
If you already have periodontal disease, a deep cleaning may be recommended to remove plaque beneath your gums. In more severe cases, you might need medication or surgery to treat the disease.
In the current dental practice, the primary treatment approach for gum disease revolves around oral hygiene, teeth cleaning, and antibiotic therapy. These methods primarily target plaque control, consisting of bacteria and food debris accumulating around the teeth.
The existing treatments for gum disease primarily address the bacterial aspect of the issue while overlooking the role of inflammation. Moreover, these treatments do not contribute to the prevention of other non-communicable diseases. Therefore, there is a need for the development of innovative therapies and healthcare approaches that consider gum disease patients as candidates for other non-communicable diseases. This approach has the potential to reduce the global disease burden and foster the emergence of a healthier geriatric generation.
Research has found that gum disease can affect a person's overall health and speed up ageing. This disease is also linked to chronic inflammation associated with ageing.
Some health problems like diabetes, obesity, and cognitive decline tend to show up later in life, but gum disease can start as early as age 30 for most people. These issues, including gum disease, are non-communicable diseases which develop gradually over time. Studies show that people with gum disease are more likely to have other related health problems. By treating gum disease from a broader perspective, we can prevent other non-communicable diseases that develop over time.
Upon reviewing this study, a specialist treating periodontal disease found the research intriguing. However, it's crucial to note that these findings are preliminary and come with several caveats, primarily because most results stem from animal studies.
Further research involving larger and more diverse populations is necessary. Additionally, since the researchers suggest off-label use of a drug approved by the authorities solely for improving glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes, more data must be collected regarding any adverse reactions that may occur when the drug is used in people with normal glycemic levels.
In terms of overall health, the mouth's condition can serve as a window into the body's health. It's essential to recognize that various systemic conditions and diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, can impact oral health directly or due to physical challenges in maintaining proper oral hygiene.
Periodontal and systemic diseases share several common risk factors, including smoking and a poor diet. Therefore, taking care of one's oral health, which includes regular brushing, daily interdental cleaning, and routine dental visits, is essential for healthier ageing.
Mobi Doctor can provide guidance and support for improving oral health and overall well-being. Whether you need advice on oral hygiene practices, managing systemic conditions that impact oral health, or information on healthier ageing, Mobi Doctor is here to assist you.