Gum Disease and Other Systemic Diseases

Several studies have shown a link between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases. While a causal relationship has not been conclusively established, research suggest that periodontal disease may contribute to the progression of other diseases.


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 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, increasing the risk for diabetic complications.

Heart Disease

Several studies have shown that periodontal disease may increase the risk of heart disease. Scientists believe that inflammation caused by periodontal disease may be responsible for the association. Periodontal disease can 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.

Respiratory Disease

Research has found that bacteria associated with periodontal disease can be aspirated into the lungs and contribute to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.


Researchers found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer, and 30% more likely to develop blood cancers.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Studies have shown a connection between bacteria associated with periodontal disease and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Gum disease bacteria may be able to travel to the brain and contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.