Periodontal Disease & Your Overall Health

Treating periodontal disease (gum disease) can significantly reduce the risks for heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cancer and diabetes.

Total Health

Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gums (swollen gums) and bone that surround your teeth. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates that 3 out of 4 Americans are affected by gum disease, ranging from mild gingivitis to more severe periodontitis.

Numerous other diseases are also caused by inflammations of some kind. Studies have shown that periodontal disease has a direct link to other inflammation-based diseases such as:


  • Heart disease and Stroke: As per the current recommendation by cardiologists and periodontists, Periodontal disease is now a known risk factor for heart disease. The other known risk factors for heart disease are, high cholesterol levels, hypertension, smoking, obesity, diabetes. In fact studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as those without.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s Disease is an inflammation of the brain. Studies have shown that patients with periodontal disease are four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and by age 70 are nine times more likely to test in the lower range of brain function tests.
  • Arthritis: Arthritis, a chronic inflammation of the joints, can be exacerbated by periodontal disease.
  • Cancer: Periodontal disease can increase the risk of head and neck cancers by four times. Men with periodontal disease are over twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
  • Diabetes & Obestity: Periodontal disease is a now a known complication to diabetes. Inflammation is common to all three, periodontal disease, obesity and diabetes, making treatment of all these three conditions more difficult to manage. However, numerous studies now indicate that treatment of periodontal disease in diabetic patients, helps reduce their blood glucose level.

What can you do?

Don’t wait. The earlier you start to deal with gum disease, the lower your risk of contracting one of these associated diseases.


  • Get Checked Out: If you have periodontal disease, talk to your primary care physician, internist or cardiologist about your increased risk for heart and other chronic diseases.
  • Help Yourself: If you smoke, have high blood pressure or are overweight, take the necessary steps to remedy these risk-increasing factors.
  • See Your Periodontist: With a proper treatment plan, gum disease is controllable. Your periodontist will recommend appropriate treatment based on the severity of your condition.