Ylöstalo Pekka

Periodontal diseases and systemic health


Research unit: Oral Health Sciences


Group leader

Deputy Professor Pekka Ylöstalo, Department of Periodontology and Geriatric Dentistry


What do we do

We focus on the two-way relationship between periodontal and general health. Periodontal infections are microbial diseases controlled by the immune system. They induce a low-grade systemic inflammation or if already existing, aggravate it. Also, bacteria and their products have access to circulation and exert their antigenic features in distant organs/tissues. We explore systemic factors, which predispose to periodontal infection or protect against it (genetic factors, vitamin D, impaired glucose tolerance etc.). Another purpose is to study whether infectious periodontal disease contributes to the development of systemic diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus or Alzheimer’s disease.


Our team

Senior researchers

  • Tervonen Tellervo, professor emerita
  • Syrjälä Anna-Maija, docent
  • Tiisanoja Antti, DDS, PhD
  • Ylipalosaari Merja, DDS, PhD
  • Pernu Hilkka, DDS

PhD students

  • Ollikainen Emilia, DDS
  • Tegelberg Paula, DDS
  • Tursas Larissa, DDS


Where are we headed

A vast majority of previous studies on perio-systemic associations are based on cross-sectional study design. The longitudinal datasets will allow us to characterize the nature of the associations (causal vs. non-causal) and to study the mediating mechanisms. In the Northern Finland Birth Cohort -66 study oral health data were gathered for the first time. Although cross-sectional at this point of time, it will serve as a valuable baseline data for future studies.


Our main collaborators

Professor emeritus Matti Knuuttila, University of Oulu
Professor Johannes Kettunen, University of Oulu
Professor Antti Jula, National Institute of Public Health and Welfare
Professor Sirpa Hartikainen, University of Eastern Finland
DDS, PhD Kaija Komulainen, University of Eastern Finland
Professor Liisa Suominen, University of Eastern Finland
DDS, PhD Saxlin Tuomas, University of Eastern Finland

How to find us


Last updated: 9.7.2019