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Int Dent J. 2006 Aug;56(4 Suppl 1):240-9.

What has ageing to do with periodontal health and disease?

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1
Department of Periodontology and Fixed Prosthodontics, School of Dental Medicine, Berne, Switzerland. rutger.persson@zmk.unibe.ch

Abstract

Periodontitis is a multi-factorial disease and in most cases also a disease with a chronic progression. Exposure to factors which contribute to periodontitis occurs over a long period, so that at the time of diagnosis it may be difficult to identify and evaluate what co-factors have contributed to its development. These include exposure to bacteria and viruses, inflammation, genetic factors, health behaviours and a variety of social factors, socio-economic status, behavioural and nutritional habits, the ability to cope with stress and the ability of the immune system to fight infections. Many patients in their 50s also experience other conditions such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, or rheumatoid arthritis and recent reports on the associations and potential biological mechanisms by which periodontitis can be linked to other systemic diseases suggest that the patient with periodontitis is a challenged individual. Neither individuals nor their oral health care providers are currently prepared for the challenges in oral health care as the expectation of successful ageing with remaining and aesthetically functional teeth is increasing. The scientific evidence is, however, growing, and while the opportunities to prepare for successful ageing exist they must be included in the educational process of both current and future oral health care providers and their patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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