New Study Links Gum Disease to Psoriasis

Published:October 17th, 2012

A new study has found that people suffering from chronic gum disease may be slightly more at risk of developing psoriasis. The research was carried out in Taiwan across a group of more than 230,000 people. Researchers found that those with gum disease were 54% more at risk of getting psoriasis over a five-year period.

They used a database of Taiwan’s national health system and identified 115,000 people who already had gum disease, and then picked an identical number of people who didn’t have this condition. Researchers then examined the database to discover how many people went on to discover psoriasis over the next five years. They found 1,082 people developed psoriasis in the group with gum disease, compared to just 706 people in the comparison group.

Although this news may sound worrying, it’s important to remember this is one of the first studies to look at a possible link between the two conditions, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that gum disease will cause psoriasis. Researchers who carried out the study are already well aware that their findings have limitations. For example they don’t know whether other variables could have influenced the chances of going on to develop psoriasis; the risk factors of the participants involved in the study couldn’t be taken into account as they weren’t known.

Experts in this field have pointed out that very little is known about risk factors for psoriasis, but at least this research could be used to potentially lower the chances of developing psoriasis. However they do point out that much more research is needed, using rigorously controlled studies to see if the findings in this study can be confirmed.

Links between chronic gum disease and other health conditions

It does seem as if every week there is a new study every week linking gum disease to some other health condition. Two studies this year have already linked gum disease to dementia and heart disease, but this is only the second study to look at the link between chronic gum disease and psoriasis. Although these findings aren’t exactly conclusive, it’s yet another reminder of the need to look after oral health.

Most people shouldn’t find it difficult to have good oral health as it really is just a matter of paying attention to brushing and flossing thoroughly each day, and making sure you visit your dentist every six months or so for regular checkups and cleanings, or more frequently if recommended. This should help ensure that any early signs of gum disease are picked up quickly and can be treated before the condition becomes chronic. Having good teeth and gums means you can read results of all the latest studies into the link between gum disease and other health conditions with interest rather than with concern.

What exactly is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes patches of red, flaky skin to form. It is thought the condition is caused by a faulty immune reaction that prompts the body to mistake healthy cells for something that could be dangerous. It’s an extremely common condition that generally occurs between the ages of 15 and 35, but isn’t contagious.

About the author

Alison, is a UK born and educated dental professional with over 25 years experience.

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