How It Effects Your Whole Body


Gum disease and your general health

Dentists have long suspected that there is a relationship between gum health and other chronic conditions like heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and osteoporosis.

Gum/periodontal disease is caused by the presence of bacteria accumulating between the gum and the teeth. If fresh young colonies of the bacterial laden plaques are not removed a low-grade infection develops and the gums/gingiva get inflamed. This infection can spread around the body and cause a multitude of other even more significant health issues.

So, in spite of advanced periodontal disease being the number one cause of tooth loss, elimination ideally and prevention of further disease is even much more important than simply keeping your teeth. It may save your life.

Periodontal disease and strokes and heart attacks

Studies have shown there is a strong link between periodontal disease and heart attacks. In gum disease, the bacteria enter the blood stream where they can attach to fatty deposits [plaques] in the blood vessels. This condition can cause blood clots which may lead to a heart attack or a stroke. It may surprise you to know that people with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. In addition the inflammatory response caused by the periodontal disease leads to increased production of the so called “c-reactive protein” which further inflames arteries and has the resulting consequential risks

Periodontal disease and diabetes

The relationship between periodontal disease is quite complex. On the one hand diabetics have compromised blood flow to the teeth and gums and this reduced circulation allows bacteria to colonise. In addition, diabetics are more vulnerable to all types of infection including periodontitis. Moderate and severe degrees of diabetes also raise the blood sugar levels meaning the body has to cope with elevated blood sugar levels for longer making it more difficult to control the blood sugar. High sugar/glucose levels in the saliva promote growth of the bacteria that cause gum disease. Compromised blood flow means that the ability of vessels to deliver nutrients and take away waste products further increases the gum‘s susceptibility infection and disease.

It is well documented that smoking is harmful to one’s health but did you know that diabetics aged 45 years and older who smoke, are twenty times more likely to develop periodontitis compared to similar non-smokers.

Periodontal disease and pregnancy complications

Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy result in a much-increased risk of developing gingivitis even in women who don’t ordinarily suffer from gum disease. Unfortunately, this may lead to premature child birth, low weight babies and preeclampsia.

Periodontal disease and osteoporosis

We are increasingly aware of the ramifications of osteoporosis which is the thinning of bone and reduction in its density. Periodontal disease results in bone loss.  Research has shown that bacteria in the mouths of women with periodontal disease are much more likely to have bone loss in their mouths and jaws which can lead to tooth loss. Additionally, osteoporosis in post-menopausal women are nearly twice as likely to develop periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease and diseases of respiration

Recent evidence has shown a link between periodontal disease and airway conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema. People with low immunity will commonly suffer from both periodontal disease and respiratory problems. This means that the bacteria which grow both above and below the gum line are not challenged by the patient’s immune system. Naturally this disease gets progressively worse and in turn worsens the respiratory issues.