The Surprising Link Between Gum Disease and Systemic Disease

Book an Appointment Call Now

April 26, 2018

Click image to view larger

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, affects millions of Americans. In a 2009-2010 study, researchers showed 64.1 million Americans aged 30 or older had gum disease. Additional research has shown links between gum disease and several other systemic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and others.

Systemic disease is a term used to describe conditions that affect many organs and tissues. In other words, systemic diseases affect the whole body. If you have a systemic disease, it lowers your body’s ability to fight off infection and inflammation.

A growing body of evidence suggests inflammation could be the connection between systemic disease and gum disease, and, as a result, treating the inflammation could help manage both the conditions. However, while it is evident there is a relationship, there is no scientific evidence at this time to suggest a causal relationship between the two. The ADA explains that casual relationships are when two conditions might be related but are caused by a different factor. For example, smokers have a higher risk for developing a systemic condition like heart disease or gum disease than nonsmokers. However, heart disease does not cause gum disease – rather, both are caused by a different factor.

Systemic conditions with connections to oral health include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and breast cancer, among others. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

Click image to view larger

Diabetes

Research has shown that people with diabetes are more likely to develop severe gum disease and lose more teeth from it than people who don’t have diabetes. Also, gum disease could have adverse consequences on their ability to regulate glucose levels. It creates a circular relationship because the inability to control glucose levels provides an environment for the bacteria that cause gum disease (which thrive on sugars) to grow. Experts agree that controlling blood sugar levels decreases the risk of gum disease, as well as other complications from diabetes.

Heart Disease

Experts see a correlation between oral disease and heart function, although, like all the systemic conditions, it is not a causal relationship. Swelling links the two conditions. Hardened (swollen) arteries are a symptom of heart disease and decrease the flow of blood to your heart, which can lead to a heart attack or a stroke.

Click image to view larger

Swollen gums are a main symptom of gum disease. However, in the case of periodontitis, the gum infection develops below the gum line, a cause for concern for people with heart disease. Why? Because that bacteria can now travel throughout the body via the many vascular pathways in the mouth, including those that lead back to the heart. In other words, the more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more bacteria you could have in your heart. Experts agree that if you address your oral health, you may decrease the number of bacteria that could be present in your heart.

Stroke

Researchers in Germany found in a 2004 study that gum disease increased the risk of an ischemic stroke when the patient also had severe periodontitis, particularly for men and for subjects under 60 years of age. An ischemic stroke is a type of stroke caused by a blocked blood vessel the gets blood to the brain. As the relationship with heart disease, the link between gum disease and stroke is the inflammation present for both and the hardening of the arteries that results from it. Experts agree that by preventing gum disease, you decrease the risk factor for certain types of stroke.

Click image to view larger

Breast Cancer

Researchers at University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health found in a recent study that women who had gum disease had a 14% overall increased risk of breast cancer over women who didn’t have gum disease. The percentage jumps to over 30% if the woman smokes, or has smoked in the past 20 years. More research is needed to see if there is a connection between the inflammation gum disease causes and the development of breast cancer.

More scientific research is needed to determine if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the systemic diseases and gum disease inflammation. It is clear by any measure, however, that gum disease isn’t helping the situation in any of these systemic conditions. There is a relationship between the gum disease and these diseases, even if it’s limited to the fact that people who have gum disease tend to have an unhealthy lifestyle that contributes to these conditions.

Sources:

Peke, P. I., et al. “Prevalence of Periodontis in Adults in the United States: 2009 2010.” Journal of Dental Research 91.10 (2012): 914-20. Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States: 2009 and 2010. Sage Journals, 30 Aug. 2012. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

“Periodontal Disease and Systemic Health.” www.perio.org. Web. 22 April 2016. <https://www.perio.org/consumer/other-diseases>

“Oral Health Topics.” www.ada.org. Web. 22 April 2016. < http://www.ada.org/en/member-center/oral-health-topics/oral-systemic-health>

“Diabetes and Periodontal Disease.” www.webmd.com. Web. 24 April 2016. < http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/periodontal-disease>

Miller, Kelli. “Periodontal Disease and Heart Health.” www.webmd.com. Web. 24 April 2016. < http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/periodontal-disease-heart-health>

Grau, MD, Armin J.; Becher, PhD, Heiko; Christoph M. Siegler, M.D., et al. “Periodontal Disease as a Risk Factor for Ischemic Stroke.” Stroke (2004) 35: 496-501. Web Stroke.ahajournals.org. <http://stroke.ahajournals.org/content/35/2/496.full>

Reinberg, Steven. “Link Between Gum Disease, Breast Cancer Risk?” www.webmd.com. Web. 24 April 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/breast-cancer/news/20151221/study-suggests-link-between-gum-disease-breast-cancer-risk>

Back to Press Center

Testimonials

I went to the doctor’s office today and the service was great, fast , proficient and very helpful for me. People was very friendly and nice

Natalia Smirnova

No teeth fell out mid cleaning. 10/10

Erik Purdy (West Palm Beach, FL)

Dr. Gorbatov and the amazing team took amazing care of me during my extractions and had attended to me last minute. Very conveniently located!

Steven Kupchan

Great office. Dr. Gorbatov is an excellent dentist. The staffs are really nice and helpful.One of the best experience. Highly recommend.

Phicha M

Had a great experience with Dr.Gorbatov, he is really professional and doing great his job always with a smile)) Definitely recommending him

Tanya Kusiumova (Sunny Isles Beach, FL)

I had an amazing experience here. Lily the hygienist is the best she’s so nice and didn’t stop until my teeth were perfect. I love her I’ll be back soon... Read more

Auto Sales

Every time I visit its always a pleasant experience, the employees are welcoming and the service is outstanding. Its the only dentist i recommend to my friends and family

Alejandro Figueredo

One of the best dental offices in my life. Very professional and cordial staff from the front desk to the dentistry team.

Вадик-Ванадик Vadik-Vanadik

I had a great experience with Dr. Dmitry Gorbatov. He was able to save my tooth from getting a root canal. All the staff was really nice, and attentive. I... Read more

Arthur R. (North Miami Beach, FL)

Dr. Gorbatov is an excellent dentist. I went to several other dentist and they all wanted to do a root canal, but Dr. Gorbatov was able to save my tooth.... Read more

Arthur Rubinovich (Sunny Isles, FL)

Book an Appointment
Skip to content

Appointment







Fill out email and/or message