“A century ago, many medical practitioners in Europe and the United States espoused the idea that the extraction of decaying teeth could stave off a host of disorders ranging from arthritis to schizophrenia. Indeed, some went as far as to simply remove all of a person’s teeth as a pre-emptive measure.

“The idea was that an infection around the teeth could spread to another part of the body,” says Iain Chapple, a periodontist at the University of Birmingham, UK. The practice of pre-emptively removing teeth has long since fallen out of favour — it’s “complete rubbish”, says Chapple. But the core concept that oral health directly influences chronic medical conditions is undergoing a renaissance. Decades of collaborations between dentists, periodontists, physicians and immunologists have provided a clearer picture of the systemic impact of periodontal disease.”

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