Periodontal Disease and Its Link to Your Overall Health

Periodontal disease has rapidly become a condition that many Americans dread. According to the American Periodontal Association, half of all American adults are currently suffering from periodontal disease, making it one of the most prevalent illnesses in the American population. Even worse, each day, it seems that new medical research is published that links periodontal disease to serious conditions that affect the general health.

Periodontal disease develops in a series of stages. In the early stages, patients typically notice that their gums have become red, swollen, or irritated. Their gums may also bleed when they floss or brush their teeth. Many people simply ignore these symptoms, mistakenly believing that they are a normal part of their oral health. However, these minor symptoms serve as warning signs that you have developed a periodontal infection that must be treated.


If the patient does not take steps to improve their oral health, such as by visiting their Los Angeles periodontist regularly or by not brushing and flossing regularly, using the correct techniques, the periodontal disease will almost certainly become worse. The patient may notice that their gums are receding and their teeth are becoming loose. If they continue ignoring the problem, patients may lose teeth, gum tissue, or even bone mass.

The problems are not limited to the oral cavity, however. In some cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. Recent medical research have indicated that one of the ways periodontal disease causing bacteria can spread to other parts of the body is through aspirating the bacteria. When the patient inhales the bacteria, it can spread to the lungs, causing severe lung infections and respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.

Periodontal disease has also been linked to certain types of cancer. Medical research indicates that men with periodontal disease are 49 percent more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54 percent more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30 percent more likely to develop certain types of blood cancer.

In addition, gum disease and osteoporosis may have an impact on one another. Although research has not yet indicated a causal link between periodontal disease and osteoporosis, having periodontal disease can speed up bone loss caused by osteoporosis, particularly in the jaw. Having both osteoporosis and periodontal disease, can significantly increase the chances of patients needing a bone graft to replace lost bone mass.

Periodontal disease has also been linked with cardiovascular disease. Similar to osteoporosis, medical research has not established a causal link between the two conditions. However, having periodontal disease has been shown to increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and increasing their risk for stroke. Researchers believe that the inflammation caused by the periodontal disease may trigger inflammation in other parts of the body, making the patient more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.


Finally, periodontal disease has been linked with diabetes. Patients who have diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease, according to the American Periodontal Association. This periodontal disease may be caused by the lowered immunity created by the diabetes. In addition, the presence of periodontal disease may make it more difficult for diabetics to control their blood sugar.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease and to cut your risk for developing these other serious conditions is to see your Los Angeles dental implants dentist regularly. Your dental provider can look for signs of periodontal disease during your routine examinations, as well as clean your teeth to remove some of the tartar and build up bacteria in your mouth, reducing your risk for developing periodontal disease.

Your dental provider can examine your teeth and gums and provide you with tips that can help keep your oral health in good condition.


  • Periodontal disease info at CDC:  (here)
  • Canadian Dental Association:  (here)

Dan Marshal

Dan Marshal is a Los Angeles periodontist and offers tips for preventing periodontal disease.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *