Systemic and Oral Disease Interactions
Our research focuses on the role of periodontal infection/inflammation as a systemic health stressor. Periodontal disease is associated with a broad array of systemic pathologic conditions, including atherosclerosis, stroke, diabetes mellitus, adverse pregnancy outcomes and Alzheimer’s disease. Our investigations into these connections encompass experimental animal studies, observational epidemiologic studies and clinical trials.
We have contributed to understanding the basic mechanisms of the pathobiology of diabetes-associated periodontitis, and the role of periodontitis in the formation of atheromatic plaques. Our studies have also helped to establish the associations between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease, preterm birth/low birth weight, and impaired cognition, as well as the two-way association between periodontitis and diabetes.
Our current projects focus on periodontitis and cognitive decline, oral bacteria and pregnancy complications, specific oral species and colon cancer, and development and validation of an algorithm that uses periodontal pathology to predict undiagnosed pre-diabetes and diabetes.