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Digestive Disease, Gum Disease Appear Linked
November 20, 2013

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - People with inflammatory bowel disease may be more likely to have gum disease as well, according to a new study.

The study was done in Switzerland. Researchers compared 113 people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and 113 people without it. Each person's mouth was examined for signs of gum (periodontal) disease. Researchers looked for gums that bled and gums that had become detached from the teeth.

People with IBD were more likely to have signs of periodontal disease than people who did not have IBD. This was true for people with both types of IBD: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Researchers also saw mouth lesions, or sores, in about 10% of people with IBD.

Earlier, small studies have suggested that people with IBD may be more likely to have periodontal disease or tooth decay.

But a large U.S. study, which used national survey data, came to a different conclusion. The study was presented at a conference in October 2013. It found that people with IBD were slightly less likely to have periodontal disease than the rest of the population. The study included more than 2 million people with IBD. It did find that people with IBD were more likely to need urgent dental care, however.

The Swiss study appears in the Nov 7 issue of the journal Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

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