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Clear links between overall health and oral health

How closely related is your overall health to your oral health? As it turns out… pretty close.

Research has shown that periodontal disease is associated with several other diseases that impair physical health. In the past, it was thought that bacteria was the common link between periodontal disease and other disease in the body. However, recent research demonstrates that inflammation may be responsible for the association.

Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal disease but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions


People with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without diabetes, probably because people with diabetes are more susceptible to contracting infections. In fact, periodontal disease is often considered a complication of diabetes. Those people who don’t have their diabetes under control are especially at risk.

Research has suggested that the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease goes both ways: periodontal disease may also make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, putting people with diabetes at increased risk for complications.


While a cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been proven, research has indicated that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease. Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association.

Periodontal disease may also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures. Your periodontist and cardiologist will be able to determine if your heart condition requires use of antibiotics prior to dental procedures.


Additional studies have pointed to a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study that looked at the causal relationship of oral infection as a risk factor for stroke, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.


Researchers have suggested a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Studies suggest that osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports the teeth may be decreased, which means the teeth no longer have a solid foundation.


Bacteria that grow in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease.


Women who are pregnant may be at an increased risk of pathological dental conditions. This is associated with complications for both the mother and baby, including the potential for the mother to lose teeth as well as an increased risk of preterm birth or low birth weight for the baby.

Make an appointment today with Goodness Dental to check your gums, teeth and your overall oral health.

Call Dr. Karen Yurell at 866-367-6835 or e-mail her at

This story was sponsored by Goodness Dental.

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