Periodontal disease and age-related macular degeneration have recently been linked together through testing, which revealed elevated level of inflammatory markers present in both conditions. C-reactive protein is one of these markers which level tends to be elevated when both periodontal disease and age-related macular degeneration are present. The correlation between the two involves the systemic inflammatory/infectious response and how it affects all areas of the body.
Systemic Inflammation/Infection Connection
The chronic and systemic inflammation creates the same type of cellular abnormalities in both gum tissues and retinal tissues of the eye. The systemic nature of the infection causes inflammation and other responses throughout the entire body. As periodontal disease worsens, it can hasten the progression of age-related macular degeneration. The body's immune system can fight the infection, but the inflammation remains and is more difficult to control.
Intervention Through Periodontal Dentistry
With studies identifying this unique link between both periodontal disease and age-related macular degeneration, periodontal dentistry focuses on reducing both the inflammation and infection that can spread throughout the body. Periodontal dentistry and those who practice in the field, continue to make advancements to keep the condition under control so that it doesn't feed into the systemic inflammatory/infectious response. There are several treatments that can be used to keep the tissues of mouth’s tissues healthy. In addition to these treatment options, maintaining good oral hygiene is a must. This includes regular visits to the dentist and daily brushing and flossing.
Studies have shown that there is a direct link between periodontal disease and age-related macular degeneration due to the systemic inflammatory/infectious response that affects the entire body. Researchers believe that it may be possible to slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration by treating and effectively controlling the systemic inflammatory/infectious response that is often associated with periodontal disease.