In honor of National Psoriasis Awareness Month, we explore the often overlooked connection between psoriasis and gum disease. Like many other ailments, one can worsen the other.
What Does Psoriasis Have to Do With Your Gums?
Recent studies show that people with psoriasis are 4.4 times more likely to have gum disease than people without it. The results of a Norwegian study showed that 24 percent of patients in the study had moderate or severe gum disease.
The leading factors explaining the connection are bone loss, inflammation, and lifestyle behaviors.
Both people with psoriasis and people with gum disease struggle with bone loss. In fact, 36 percent of people with psoriasis had one or more sites of bone loss compared with 13 percent of people without the condition. In turn, people suffering from gum disease exhibit bone loss. This is because bacteria eats at the underlying jaw bone and the ligaments which connect the tooth and bone. This combination of bone loss creates further complications and leads to other conditions.
Dr. Rasa Skudutyte-Rysstad, the author of the study on psoriasis and gum disease, explained that the two diseases work similarly in the body. They are both chronic, inflammatory diseases related to the body’s immune system. So the inflammation from psoriasis increases the risk of gum disease and vice versa.
Smoking plays a major role in the relationship between psoriasis and gum disease. A study shows that people with psoriasis who also smoked cigarettes were 24.3 times more likely to develop periodontal disease. Researchers estimate that cigarette smoke causes the body to increase the usage of certain immune-cell receptors that are already overused in people with psoriasis. Ultimately, this up-usage leads to an immune or inflammatory response that can result in psoriatic lesions and periodontal disease.
Other elements of a person’s lifestyle impact their likeliness of developing psoriasis or gum disease – or both. Studies show that people with psoriasis have impaired health-related quality of life, which leads to behaviors like smoking, alcohol consumption, decreased physical activity, and obesity. This is true in cases of people with gum disease as well.
Although both conditions are chronic, there are several ways you can combat them or lessen the impact on your life.
- Eat right – Maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet can benefit both your mouth and your skin. Excess weight can cause psoriasis “flare-ups” and can also point to over-consumption of sugar, which can lead to gum disease.
- Limit alcohol consumption – Excessive drinking can exacerbate both conditions and can cause complications when taking medications.
- Maintain a strict oral health care regime – It goes without saying that brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly results in a healthy mouth and body. However, even so, some patients are predisposed to conditions like gum disease. Visiting Farber Center is a way to make sure you’re doing everything possible to keep your teeth and gums healthy.
At Farber Center, we are consistently informing our patients about the “mouth-body connection.” For more information about how gum disease is connected to other conditions check out our past blogs in the archive and consider making an appointment today.