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A blood test may reveal systemic factors that relate to periodontal disease, especially in men


A blood test is often given during a medical checkup to reveal indicators of general health conditions. In a study reported in the most recent issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP), Japanese researchers found that a blood test may also reveal indicators of periodontal diseases.

Researchers examined and measured the oral health of 7,452 men and women, and tested their blood for 37 items used in general blood tests. Some of the items tested for in the blood include cholesterol and C-reactive protein, commonly linked to heart disease; and diabetes. The results of the blood tests were compared against the oral health scores of the participants.

"In this study we found that generally if the blood was "healthy," the oral health was also healthy. Conversely, if the blood test detected certain "red flags," the person also had serious symptoms of periodontal diseases," said Dr. Yuko Takami, Department of Preventive Dentistry and Dental Public Health, School of Dentistry, AichiGakuin University, Japan. "We also found that males were reported to have more serious symptoms of periodontal diseases than females of the same age group,"

"These findings mean that in the future when patients visit their medical doctors for a routine check-up and annual blood work, they may also be referred to a periodontist for a periodontal screening if the blood indicates systemic abnormalities," said Michael P. Rethman, D.D.S., M.S., and president of the American Academy of Periodontology.

The only item from the blood test that showed a significant relationship with periodontal diseases in women was CRP. A specific reason could not be pinpointed as to why men were reported to have more serious symptoms of periodontal diseases than women. One reason could be that men and women have different endocrine situations, and periodontal diseases are influenced by endocrine conditions.

"With each study that looks at the association between systemic and periodontal diseases, we learn more about the CRP correlation," said Rethman. "Another study in this JOP issue reinforces previous studies indicating a relationship between CRP elevation and periodontitis."

In a study from the August JOP, CRP values were compared before and after treatment. Researchers found that the CRP values significantly decreased after periodontal treatment.

"Since the treatment of periodontitis in this study appears to be effective in reducing levels of CRP, patients at risk for coronary heart disease may want to visit a periodontist to control their periodontitis," said Rethman.

Blood Test Values and CPI Scores in Medical Checkup Recipient Study Findings
This study investigated correlations between the blood test values of people who had general medical checkups and their community periodontal index score (CPI). CPI represents periodontal disease indicators in order to clarify how periodontal diseases relate to systemic conditions. The study included 7,452 people and divided them by age and gender. CPI scores were listed as 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 to indicate, respectively, the following conditions: healthy, bleeding after probing, dental calculus detected by probing, 4- to 5-mm deep pockets and >6-mm deep pockets. A total of 37 items were tested in the blood, some of which include C-reactive protein (CRP), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), white blood count (WBC) and blood sugar (BS).

Comparisons were then made between blood test values higher than the standard range and the standard values for CPI scores of 3 and 4.

A free brochure titled Ask Your Periodontist About Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease is available by calling 1-800-FLOSS-EM or using the AAP’s online request form. The AAP’s Web site ( can provide more information and a referral to a nearby periodontist.

The AAP was established in 1914 and focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the gums and supporting structures of the teeth and in the placement and maintenance of dental implants.

**EDITOR’S NOTE: A copy of the reports published in the Journal of Periodontology’s titled "Blood Test Values and CPI Scores in Medical Checkup Recipients," "Association Between Alveolar Bone Loss and Elevated Serum C-Reactive Protein in Japanese Men" and Antimicrobial Periodontal Treatment Decreases Serum C-Reactive Protein, Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha, But Not Adiponectin Levels in Patients with Chronic Periodontitis" are available by calling Amy Duff at 312-573-3244.

Amy Duff | EurekAlert!
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