Periodontal disease is widespread throughout the world population; recent studies estimate that in 25% of cases its progression is more or less rapidly destructive and highly invalidating. According to data published by the Italian Society of Periodontology (Società Italiana di Parodontologia - SIdP) in 2003, 60% of adults in Italy are affected with periodontal disease to varying degrees and 10 to 14% are affected with severe, advanced forms. Incidence increases dramatically in the 35 to 44-years age range.
In addition, according to recent studies, periodontitis constitutes a risk factor for onset and progression of serious systemic diseases. The high concentration of pathogenic bacteria in the periodontal lesions may provoke episodes of bacteremia and emission into the bloodstream of toxins that can be linked to onset and progression of such systemic diseases as respiratory-tract infections, cardiovascular diseases, bacterial valve vegetations, and atheromatous plaques. A bi-directional link with diabetes mellitus (diabetes is a strong predisposing factor to periodontal disease and, conversely, periodontitis if not treated creates greater difficulty in controlling sugar metabolism) has been established.
Periodontopathogenic bacteria may also bypass the placental barrier, with a consequent increase in the mediators responsible for preterm delivery and low birth weight.
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