Hidden Consequences of Gum Disease

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When you think about gum disease, you probably think of all the things that could go wrong inside your mouth. Some of these symptoms include red and swollen gums, bleeding gums, loss of teeth, and receding gums.

These are all serious issues. However, did you know that gum disease can affect more than just your mouth?

mouth with dental examination tool

Heart Disease

Numerous studies have shown that periodontitis is closely linked with heart disease and the prevalence of heart attacks. Many scientists believe that the inflammation caused by gum disease is responsible for the connection. Those who suffer from gum disease are 2.7 times more likely to have a heart attack.


A stroke is when oxygen-rich blood is blocked from getting to the brain and brain cells begin to die. The cells that die correlate to certain parts of the body which become affected. Those who have gum disease are three times more likely to suffer a stroke. In an article from the American Heart Association, it was found that subjects that had severe periodontitis had a 4.3 times higher risk of cerebral ischemia (the loss of blood to the brain that can result in a stroke).

Premature Childbirth

1 in 10 women will give birth prematurely, and scientists are believing that gum disease is playing a role in this trend. The connection between the two has a lot of do with substantial changes in their hormones, which leaves them susceptible to infections. Another theory dictates that oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and in an effort to protect the baby, your body might have a “deliver the baby” instinct to shield them from the infection.


Oftentimes, periodontitis can raise your blood sugar levels. Many kinds of bacteria thrive on sugar, including glucose. It’s a two fold relationship- periodontitis can make diabetes worse, but having diabetes can also set the stage for gum disease.

patient with a dentist working

Respiratory Disease

Breathing through your mouth can cause harmful bacteria to travel. Complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema can arise from the bacterium already present in your mouth.

Gum disease doesn’t only effect your teeth and your gums. Numerous studies show that other areas of your body are affected, and put you at risk for other serious conditions. Controlling and treating gum disease can help save your teeth, but you also will be saving other vital organs.

If you have been told you are at risk for, or currently have gum disease, you should seek treatment. Contact Friendly Dentistry today to set up an appointment!

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