People with chronic periodontitis seemed slightly more likely to develop psoriasis in a study from Taiwan.
In a group of more than 230 000 people, those with gum disease were 54% more likely to get psoriasis over five years. The study is among the first to investigate the link between the two conditions.
"We don't know very much about what the risk factors are for chronic inflammatory diseases like psoriasis," said Dr Joel Gelfand, a dermatologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, who was not involved in the new research.
"This study points in a potentially new direction for a potential risk factor that - in theory - could be modified and thus lower the risk of psoriasis in the future," hesaid. "That being said, this finding needs to be confirmed by more rigorous, more-controlled studies to determine if the findings are real."
How the study was done
It's not the first time psoriasis has been linked to other health problems. Earlier this year, a study found that 84% of patients with psoriasis had coronary artery disease, compared to 75% of psoriasis-free controls.
Oral health has also been tied to other conditions, including dementia. But until now only one other study had looked at the link between psoriasis and chronic periodontitis.
For the new research, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, Dr Joseph J. Keller from Taipei Medical University and his colleague Dr H.-C. Lin turned to a database of Taiwan's national health system.
They identified 115 365 people with gum disease and an identical number of controls and tracked them over five years. Psoriasis developed in 1 082 patients with periodontitis and 706 controls. The rate per 1 000 people works out to about 1.9 vs 1.2, respectively.
The researchers say their findings may challenge some of what is known about the etiology of psoriasis, but they caution about their study's limitations. Specifically, they were not able to account for certain factors that could have played a role, such as cigarette smoking.
(Reuters Health, Andrew M.Seaman, October 2012)
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