Spreading awareness about oral health and psoriasis

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  Posted by: The Probe      3rd June 2021

Psoriasis is a condition that impacts millions of individuals around the world. In fact, it is thought that between 2-3% of the global population suffer from this condition – meaning that you most likely have patients on your list with psoriasis.[i]

But what is psoriasis and how is it linked to oral health?

Put simply, psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky patches of skin.  These patches can cause minor irritation or be unbearably itchy and sore, significantly impacting the quality of life for people who suffer from it. What makes the condition so difficult for people is that it’s unpredictable – it can flare up without warning and cause considerable distress.

Another upsetting aspect of the condition is that it can be difficult to treat. Due to the unknown nature of what causes flare ups, people often have to rely on creams and other topical treatments, many of which have varying success. But what if there was a way to help control the severity of flare ups? Here is where dental hygienists and dental therapists come in.

Compelling research performed over the last few years has suggested that a link between oral health and psoriasis exists and, what’s more, that this link could determine the severity of the flare ups experienced by those that have the condition. Indeed, much like links between conditions such as heart disease and oral health, it seems that bacteria responsible for periodontitis could be exacerbating psoriasis and even causing it, potentially due to the inflammatory response.[ii]

If this is the case, then people suffering from psoriasis could potentially find relief by taking care of their oral health and minimising the risks of periodontal disease. Dental hygienists and dental therapists are well placed to offer advice, especially as we are often the first port of call when someone has periodontal disease. However, it’s not just about helping people stay on top of the condition, but also about spreading awareness.

August 2021 is Psoriasis Awareness Month, so this is the perfect opportunity to talk to your patients and educate them about the potential links between psoriasis and oral health. Although general information of how oral health and systemic conditions is becoming more widely publicised, it’s still something that many patients will be unaware of, especially when it comes to conditions such as psoriasis where the research is still relatively new. By informing our patients and asking if they do suffer from conditions like psoriasis, we can help encourage them to pay special attention to their oral health and hopefully offer them some relief from a condition that could be causing them a lot of discomfort or insecurity.

At the end of the day, psoriasis is one of those conditions that we are still learning about, so it’s a good idea to keep informed and up to date with all of the latest breakthroughs on the topic. The connection between oral health and the condition is significant, and by encouraging patients to look after their gingival health, clean interdentally and practise exceptional at home hygiene, we can make a big difference!

 

 For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk

call 01788 575050 or email enquiries@bsdht.org.uk

 

[i] National Psoriasis Foundation. Psoriasis Statistics. Link: https://www.psoriasis.org/psoriasis-statistics/#:~:text=Prevalence&text=1%5D-,125%20million%20people%20worldwide%E2%80%942%20to%203%20percent%20of%20the,the%20World%20Psoriasis%20Day%20consortium. [Last accessed May 21].

 

[ii] News Medical Life Sciences. Dental Health, Diet May Have An Impact on Psoriasis Development and Severity. Link: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20191029/Dental-health-diet-may-have-an-impact-on-psoriasis-development-and-severity.aspx#:~:text=Dental%20health%2C%20diet%20may%20have%20an%20impact%20on%20psoriasis%20development%20and%20severity,-Download%20PDF%20Copy&text=Dental%20health%20and%20diet%20may,State%20University%20Wexner%20Medical%20Center. [Last accessed May 21].


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