The late stage of gum disease, or periodontitis, is irreversible: once it hits, it requires life-long maintenance—and it’s expensive. In the US, for example, a periodontal treatment can cost a patient thousands of dollars. Unlike with some other diseases, people with gum disease do not want to speak about it. They feel ashamed because it is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. What’s more, the mouth is the gateway to the body. There is robust evidence on the link between gum disease and systemic conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes1,2.
Resolving this prevalent global disease, which affects up to 50% of the world’s population, and improving people’s oral healthcare in general, is what drove me to pursue a PhD and to continue my clinical scientific work here within Philips Research. Working everyday on finding and providing solutions that can help people suffering from gum disease and other oral health complications, gives me motivation and makes me proud. I believe that our work can and will make a big difference in the quality of lives of people who suffer. Even if I personally can help a small portion of the population—that is fulfilling.