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January 12, 2015

Unfit men are at greater risk of periodontitis

A study has shown that inactive middle-aged men are at greater risk of developing gum disease compared with men who exercise regularly. (Photo: txking/Shutterstock

by Dental Tribune International

HANNOVER, Germany: A number of studies have suggested a potential association between gum disease and systemic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis, indicating that oral health can affect the entire human body. Now, new research from Germany has provided additional evidence of this link. The researchers found that moderate to severe periodontitis was more common in men who did not exercise.

In the study, researchers at the Hannover Medical School recruited 72 healthy men aged 45 to 65 who did not participate in any exercise programme and did not engage in any physical leisure activity. Most of the participants had held a sedentary position during the last three years.

An assessment by a periodontist showed that 30 participants had moderate periodontitis, while 12 participants showed evidence of a severe form of the disease. Their physical fitness was measured on a cycle ergometer.

The results of the study indicate that age and low levels of physical activity are associated with periodontal disease. The researchers explained that this link can be attributed to the anti-inflammatory effect of regular exercise, which might result in a suppressive effect on periodontal disease. In addition, physical activity is believed to reduce high blood pressure, which is also associated with periodontal disease.

The study, titled “Moderate and severe periodontitis are independent risk factors associated with low cardiorespiratory fitness in sedentary non-smoking men aged between 45 and 65 years”, was published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

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