Medical Conditions Linked to Gum Disease

Dental hygiene is linked to more than the quality of your smile. Modern research has shown an increasingly strong link between poor oral health and other medical conditions. Periodontal disease may contribute to or increase the chance of developing diabetes and heart disease. Poor gum health may also lead to a higher chance for stroke.

Dr. Robert Milner has nearly 30 years of experience treating periodontal disease in a professional environment. Read on to learn more about the various medical conditions linked to gum disease.


Gum disease is directly linked to diabetes. People suffering from poor diabetes control experience much higher rates of periodontal disease than those with diabetes under control.

People with high blood glucose levels (poor diabetes control) find it more difficult to fight off bacterial infections. Bacteria use glucose to reproduce; the higher the blood glucose level, the more the bacteria are able to spread. Even worse, as the infection spreads, the body’s natural response is to increase blood sugar levels even further. This can lead to an infection that rapidly spirals out of control.

If you do have diabetes, dental health is of the utmost importance. Consult with your doctor and develop a plan that will keep you safe from periodontal disease as soon as possible.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Research has shown that heart disease is linked to gum disease. Initially, it was thought that infectious bacteria from inflamed gums could travel through the bloodstream and contribute to heart disease. More recent research, however, indicates that the inflammation itself caused by gum disease is to blame.

Long-term inflammation causes the body to flood the blood with immune cells and assorted proteins. Put simply, the body tries to heal itself quickly instead of promoting long-term health: this may contribute to a series of further health complications. The body narrows blood vessels when faced with high levels of inflammation; this contributes to a higher risk of heart attack.

Increased levels of inflammation may cause the buildup of plaque in your arteries, leading to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

More Than a Happy Smile

Your mouth is the gateway to your body. Good oral hygiene and an effective dental treatment plan can reduce your risk of heart disease. If you suffer from diabetes, periodontal disease can contribute to higher blood glucose levels. You also run the risk of gum disease contributing to further diabetic complications throughout the body.

Dr. Robert Milner is eager to help you with your dental treatment needs. Please contact our office here for more information.