Sleep deficits lead to 19% increased risk for gum disease

Periodontitis is one of the most frequent chronic conditions in human adults, affecting more than 42% of US adults 30 years of age or older [1]. It is a leading cause of tooth loss among adults and has been reported to have a harmful impact on general health and wellbeing [2–7]; periodontitis has been associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes [3–7]. It is a multifactorial disease that entails complex infectious and immunological interactions [8]. Although bacterial plaque biofilm is an essential factor in development of periodontitis, it is insufficient by itself to initiate the disease process.

The interplay between the host response and the periodontopathic bacteria is the key to initiation and progression of periodontal inflammation. In a susceptible host, repeated bacterial insult results in dysregulation of the inflammatory and immune pathways leading to persistent inflammation and tissue destruction of the connective attachment, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone [9]. Several environmental and systemic factors such as smoking, diabetes, stress and obesity have been linked to increased susceptibility to periodontitis [10].

Sleep is a natural physiologic process that has restorative and regulatory functions [11]. Sleep duration was found to have a U-shaped relationship with health outcomes. Sleep deficiency is frequently defined as having less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep, while sleep excess is defined as more than 8 or 9 hours [12]. Both deficient and excessive sleep durations are associated with poorer general health.

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