Reply To: Oral and Whole Body Health

#3439 Score: 0

    The article you gave me to look at talked about one of the ten studies . . . Offenbacher 2009 but there are nine others. In addition, the federal government spent 20 million or so studying this question. Pharmaceutical companies like to promote these links because it helps them to sell toothpaste/other medical/dental products. There is a lot of research bias and when you’re looking at research outcomes, it’s sometimes best to talk to an epidemiologist/biostatistician.

    Hi there, Let me explain to you how ‘associations’ (correlations) work in the research world. Let’s say for example, a researcher wants to determine if there is an association between preterm birth and the treatment of periodontal disease. There are many variables (factors) that contribute to preterm birth like infection (fever, too) placenta tears, bleeding disorders, stretching of the uterus, low socioeconomic status, nonwhite race, maternal age, smoking, substance abuse, low prepregnancy weight, previous history of preterm delivery, other uterine factors like trauma, uterine anomalies and sometimes it’s a combination of various factors. So, researchers who are interested in testing the hypothesis (question) that pertains to preterm birth and periodontal disease will design a study and treat women with periodontal disease. They they will determine if there was a reduction in preterm birth. Study design is complex and you have to have experimental and control groups and these studies are typical large and very expensive to conduct. Also, it takes time to complete them and you NEVER conclude anything based on ONE study because there are always study errors. Instead, in the case of preterm birth specifically, researchers looked at studies that were conducted over the past two decades. Researchers look at all the studies, throw out the bad ones (meaning that they were fraught with error) and they analyze the good ones in what is called a meta-analysis. In the case of preterm birth/low birthweight babies and periodontal disease, enough research was done over the past two decades to properly analyze the data.

    Just because there’s a reported ‘link’ (which is also referred to as an association or correlation) does’t mean that it’s true. It takes a LONG TIME to study these links to determine if they really do exist.

    The link you sent me does talk about one of the studies but there are many. A good way to search for studies that have been done on a given subject is to go to pub med and search for them but we now look at what are called meta-analyses and systematic reviews . . . . these are reports that look at ALL the good research studies to date on a given topic. In the case of preterm birth, there are about 10 clinical trials that researchers have analyzed in a meta-analysis.

    Here’s a more reliable source for you to look at: Looking at the Periodontal-Systemic Disease Connection

    Hope this helps a little bit. Lynne