Study Confirms Association between Lupus and Gum Disease
A newly published meta-analysis shows that lupus is significantly associated with periodontitis (gum disease). Periodontitis is a serious infection characterized by inflammation of the gums, which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. While people with lupus were found to have a higher chance of developing some related complications (gum bleeding and irreversible gum tissue loss), the study did not detect an association between lupus and overall severity of gum disease.
The analysis included 10 different studies, including five Asian, three European and two African American populations, all together pooling data from 80,633 study subjects. Participants across the studies ranged in average age from about 15 to 50 years-old and were predominantly female. The researchers conducted a subgroup analysis of female participants and found a significant association between lupus and gum disease in this population as well.
These latest findings underscore the link between lupus and gum disease and draws into further question if and how this relationship may be causal in nature. Many studies have indicated lupus may lead to a higher risk of gum disease, and oral infection is also a common side effect of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants used in lupus treatment. However, it’s also possible that gum disease may lead to the development of lupus, and the authors conclude that maintaining good oral health may be a simple and economical way to prevent the autoimmune disease. Learn about the oral care connection in lupus.