According to a report by Retinal Physician, “Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of irreversible vision loss in the elderly population. Although the exact pathophysiology of AMD is not fully understood, age-associated changes and oxidative stress, resulting in cellular damage, have been suggested as the triggering factors in AMD. This cellular damage is further aggravated by the subsequent immune and inflammatory response.”

The report goes on to say, “Periodontal disease is a common infectious and inflammatory condition that results in long-term inflammation and heightened immune response. Periodontal disease is highly prevalent in adults 30 years old or older, and its prevalence increases with age.”

Progression of Periodontal Disease

When left untreated, gingivitus, the mildest form of periodontal disease, can advance to periodontitus. Over time, plaque can spread and grow below the gumline. Toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response causing the body to turn on itself. As the disease progresses, the gums can pull away from the teeth and form spaces between the teeth and gums. When these pockets become infected, manifestation of systemic diseases can occur.

We have been aware of the relation between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. New studies are showing increased levels of C-reactive proteins (CRP), which is an acute-phase reactant protein used as a biomarker for inflammation, are also associated with a higher risk of developing AMD.

More than 500 microorganisms exist in the human mouth, and periodontal disease increases the risk of introducing these pathogens into the body. Persistent infection and the resulting incendiary response may promote the progression of other inflammatory age-related conditions, including AMD.

An Ounce of Prevention

In Dallas, Texas, Dr. James Reisman and Dr. Jordana Contrucci of C R Dental Group continually stress the importance of diligent oral care. They encourage steadfast attention at home, along with regular dental visits. They know good oral health is beneficial regardless of its connection to systemic disease. When you make your oral health a top priority, you are, in turn, making your overall health a top priority as well!