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Periodontal disease may increase seizure frequency in epilepsy patients

By Dental Tribune International
February 16, 2014

SÃO PAULO, Brazil: Periodontal disease is very common worldwide and affects people at all socioeconomic levels. Researchers from Brazil have now investigated the link between seizures and periodontal status in epilepsy patients. They found that periodontal disease and seizure severity were correlated in the patient group.

In the study, researchers determined the periodontal disease status of 109 patients treated for epilepsy and a control group, and documented the patients' seizure frequency and use of medication.

They observed that patients were significantly more susceptible to poor oral hygiene, gingivitis and periodontitis compared with the controls. In addition, they found that seizure frequency was associated with poor oral hygiene, gingivitis and periodontitis. Therefore, epilepsy patients need to focus more on their oral health and quality of oral hygiene, the researchers concluded.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 2 U.S. adults aged 30 and over have periodontal disease. The World Health Organization estimates that the severe form of the disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15–20 percent of middle-aged adults. Epilepsy affects about 2.3 million adults and 467,711 children in the U.S. alone, states CDC. About 150,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed each year.

The study, titled "The Association Between Periodontal Disease and Seizure Severity in Refractory Epilepsy Patients," was published online on Jan. 22 in Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy. It was conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo City in collaboration with the University of Campinas.

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