The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Other Health Problems

Although periodontal disease is the number one cause of adult tooth loss, Charles Zebe, DMD, wants patients to know that unhealthy gums have also been linked to serious systemic health conditions. At his private practice in Mercerville, New Jersey, Dr. Charles Zebe offers preventive treatments for gum disease that not only protect his patients’ oral health but can also enhance their general health.

Periodontal disease, an infection that affects the gums and other structures that support the teeth, can have far-reaching effects outside of the mouth. Studies show that patients with periodontal disease are at an increased risk of developing or worsening existing cases of heart disease, diabetes, respiratory illness, stroke, or Alzheimer’s disease. Pregnant women with gum disease are also more likely to have preterm deliveries or low birth weight babies.

Researchers are still trying to determine the link between these serious health issues and periodontal disease. Some studies have pinpointed the oral bacteria that cause periodontal disease, stating that they enter the bloodstream through damaged gum tissues and cause widespread bodily harm. Other research suggests that the inflammation of gum disease triggers inflammatory conditions in other parts of the body. Whatever the link, preventing gum disease with good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings is a smart move to help retain healthy teeth and possibly prevent chronic health issues.