Patients with lupus have a higher chance of complications related to periodontitis such as gum bleeding and irreversible gum tissue loss, according to a meta-analysis by researchers at Guangdong Medical University and Guangdong Pharmaceutical University in Guangzhou, China, though they did not detect an association between lupus and overall gum disease severity.
The analysis included 10 different studies, including five Asian, three European, and two African American populations, pooling data from 80,633 study subjects. Participants ranged in average age from about 15 to 50 years old and were predominantly female. A subgroup analysis of female subjects found a significant association between lupus and periodontitis in this population as well.
These findings underscore the link between lupus and periodontitis and draws into further question if and how this relationship may be causal in nature, according to the researchers. Many studied have indicated that lupus may lead to a higher risk of gum disease, and oral infection also is a common side effect of corticosteroids and immunosuppressants used in lupus treatment, the researchers added.
However, they continued, it’s also possible that gum disease may lead to the development of lupus. Maintaining good oral health may be a simple and economical way to prevent lupus, the researchers concluded.
The study, “Association Between Periodontitis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Meta-Analysis,” was published by Lupus.