Is there an Eye-Tooth Health Connection?

They say the eyes are the window to the soul. So it’s not surprising that research shows us that your mouth health may also offer an indication to your eye health. And we already know that there are substantial indicators that show that oral health issues can affect the rest of your overall health.

One study of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) assessed more than 8,000 individuals aged 40 or older and determined that 52% had periodontal disease. Yet another report similarly concluded that periodontal disease was a plausible risk factor for AMD.

More Findings Linking Gum Disease to Eye Issues

More and more research links serious gum disease to all sorts of systemic (through the body) issues like heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, rheumatoid arthritis and more. Even vision health is being linked to problems with oral health, with some information noting the relationship between dental health and primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Some recent findings:

  • Periodontal disease (severe gum disease) is being linked to an increased risk of glaucoma. Some theories discuss how individuals often experience issues with their vision at the same time as that they lose teeth, and that eye conditions like glaucoma may be triggered by gum diseases and decay. One thought is that the inflammation from oral infections can trigger a cascade of events which, in this instance, is thought to ultimately reach the optic nerve head microcirculatory system and cause dysfunction.
  • A chain reaction of sorts links the inflammation of gum disease to raised blood sugar which, if uncontrolled, can contribute to diabetes. If left unmanaged, we know that diabetes can lead to vision loss.
  • The prevalence of diabetes and other systemic conditions is projected to double the number of adult individuals with eye disorders —a viscous circle indeed.

We caution readers when reading and interpreting results like this, since we know further studies are needed. One or two epidemiological reports can’t establish causal relations. But findings like these that point to poor oral health and its relationship to eye health should be acknowledged.

Treating Gum Disease

Our board-certified periodontists will present you with treatment options based on your individual needs. Often, we can use non-surgical procedures such as root planing and scaling. For more advanced cases, we offer a full arsenal of oral health weapons including LANAP® regenerative laser treatment, soft tissue grafts, bone grafting, and more. If gum disease is caught in its early stage (gingivitis) it’s almost always reversible. Be sure to call one of our comfortable and friendly offices at the Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics for an appointment. No referral is necessary!