This conclusion is part of the latest study "A global review of the evidence linking oral health and non-communicable systemic diseases," published in Nature Communications by the research center of the Egas Moniz School of Health and Science and released on World Oral Health Day.
The report concludes that "impaired oral health is directly related to 23 systemic diseases and five types of cancer, including lung, pancreatic, breast, prostate, and head and neck cancers.
Among the diseases that can arise in patients who have poor oral health are diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative, rheumatic, inflammatory intestinal, and obesity and asthma, said the Egas Moniz School of Health and Science in a statement.
"This is the first research that, combining all the scientific information produced worldwide, demonstrates an association between oral health and 28 different pathologies, reinforcing the importance that this has for health in general and justifying why it should be an integral part of clinical follow-up," he says.
According to researcher João Botelho, from the Egas Moniz Center for Interdisciplinary Research, the results of this study coincide with the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Oral Health Report 2022, which warns of "the urgent need to definitively incorporate not only oral health care, but also education for it in health systems."
"In this sense, based on our research, we intend not only to confirm the correlation between oral health and other pathologies, but also to reinforce the importance of the role of dentistry as a guarantee of health in general and the bet on prevention as a complement to care and treatment", underlines João Botelho.
For the researcher, this question is of "extreme importance" when it turns out that "basic oral health care is not accessible to everyone."
According to the WHO Global Oral Health Report, diseases affecting the oral cavity are the most common, affecting half of the world's population.
In this sense, Egas Moniz's research reinforces the need to prevent systemic diseases with an impact on patients' quality of life, and estimates that the number of diseases associated with neglected oral health may increase, depending on the number of studies conducted.
The researchers also warn of the prevalence of these pathologies in Portugal, which reaches high values when compared to other European countries.
They also argue that preventive measures in oral health have an economic impact, giving as an example that, in 2018 alone, periodontitis, a disease that affects the gums, caused an economic loss in the European Union estimated at 159 billion euros.
The Egas Moniz Center for Interdisciplinary Research currently has 18 fully equipped, state-of-the-art laboratories, 80 integrated members and more than 100 regular employees.
Risks of poor oral health revealed
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