Over the years, it has become clear that medical problems such as pregnancy complications, heart disease, respiratory diseases, and even a condition such as diabetes can contribute to causing periodontal disease.

Due to bacteria within the mouth, teeth, and gums, infections can break out that lead to the destruction of the gums and the tissue around the teeth, which is known as periodontal disease. Eventually this can lead to more serious health problems such as loosing teeth and bone structure around the jaw bone, but assiduous oral hygiene can make a big difference in preventing gum disease from starting.

Meridian Tooth Chart

Meridian Tooth Chart

Medical problems that have been associated with gum disease are:


Research has proven that those with diabetes are much more likely to develop periodontal disease, and have it more severely. This is because their bodies are unable to remove the glucose and sugar from their blood stream, and this buildup of excess sugar can also exist within the mouth, feeding the bacteria that creates gum disease.

Another side effect of diabetes is that blood vessels become much thicker, and this means that it takes longer for any sugar within the mouth to be taken away, giving the bacteria much longer to feed.

Heart Disease

There are currently two main theories about why heart disease and periodontal disease have an effect on each other, although neither are definitely proven as yet. The first argues that the bacteria that you will find in gum disease can travel through the blood system to the coronary arteries, which then in turn increases the formation of blood clots and narrows the arteries, making it more likely for that individual to suffer a heart attack.

The second theory takes a different approach, and argues that a buildup of plaque will lead to swollen arteries, and that can make already preexisting heart conditions worse. In support of this theory, the American Academy of Periodontology has published an article demonstrating that patients whose bodies react to oral bacteria are more likely to have heart disease.

Dr. Woods Lectures at UCSD on the Connection Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Pregnancy Complications

Throughout their lives, women are much more likely to be susceptible to gum disease because of the massive fluctuations in hormone levels when they experience puberty and menopause, and for some women, pregnancy as well. There is also a link between pregnant women who have gum disease, and the likelihood that they will develop preeclampsia and have earlier, more premature, and underweight babies.
Prostaglandin is a hormone in the body that induces labour, but it is also a chemical that it created by periodontal disease, meaning that labour can accidentally be induced when the baby is not at full term. The risk of developing heart disease during pregnancy is also increased by c-reactive proteins, which gum disease unnaturally raises, and this also has an effect on preeclampsia and low birth weight.

Respiratory Disease

It has been noted that individuals with emphysema, COPD, and pneumonia will often see their symptoms get much worse if they also have gum disease and other oral bacteria. This is because the bacteria can move to the lungs during normal breathing, and can grow and colonise there, creating bacteria infections right in the lungs.

As well as this, inflammation that can be found in the gum tissue can also lead to severe inflammation in the lining of our lungs, a problem in itself that also makes the symptoms of pneumonia even worse. As people who have respiratory problems will often have problems with their immunity, this means that any bacteria in their body will inevitably spread.

To find out how your oral health may be affecting your overall health, call (619) 640-5100