Periodontal tissues exhibit important vascular, lymphatic, and nervous connections with the rest of the body. Thus, periodontal inflammation caused by the interaction between the subgingival bacterial biofilm and the host immune response has an impact reaching further than the oral cavity. The concept of “periodontal medicine” reunites the bidirectional relationships that exist between periodontal disease and systemic conditions such as diabetes mellitus or cardiovascular disease. The chronic inflammation of hepatic tissues during hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection causes changes in the general homeostasis that can reverberate at periodontal level and influence periodontal inflammation. Various mechanisms such as insulin resistance or pro-inflammatory cytokines production could be the link between the two conditions. In addition, periodontal inflammation could impact HCV transmission, as HCV RNA molecules and antibodies have been found in infected patients’ saliva and gingival fluid. During periodontal inflammation, gingival bleeding is frequent, and the viral molecules could enter oral fluids while being carried by peripheral blood cells. Clinical particularities that suggest the onset of periodontal disease have also been frequently observed in HCV-infected patients. The connections between periodontal disease and hepatitis C need to take into consideration by practitioners of both specialties due to their important implications on clinical manifestations and treatment strategies.
Part of the book: Hepatitis C