Flat lay image of a stethoscope, heart, and brain for an article about the connection between oral health and systemic health conditions.

The Connection Between Gum Disease and Systemic Health Conditions

September 7, 2023 7:18 pm
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Healthy gums support your teeth, but when bacteria and infections settle into your soft tissues, you can develop gum disease! Gum disease causes issues like swelling, bleeding, and tenderness, but did you know there’s a connection between gum disease and systemic health conditions? Here are the conditions to know about:

    Tooth Loss

    Gum disease is the #1 cause of adult tooth loss. In its first stage – gingivitis – the disease can be reversed with improved oral hygiene and treatment at the dentist, but once it becomes periodontitis, you can only manage the disease. If it progresses, your gums pull away from your teeth and can no longer support them. Tooth loss is the natural consequence of untreated gum disease.

    Heart Disease

    Experts don’t have concrete answers on why heart disease and gum disease are linked, but research shows that people with gum disease often have heart conditions. The inflammation caused by gum disease might connect to inflammation in the heart, while bacteria in your gums could spread through your body.

    Cognitive Function Conditions

    Gum disease, tooth loss, and brain health are connected. Studies have even shown an association between gum disease and shrinkage in the part of the brain responsible for memory. While this doesn’t mean gum disease causes Alzheimer’s, it does show a connection!


    Many factors affect your risk for cancer, and research shows gum disease could be one of them. In a Harvard study, researchers found people with a history of gum disease were more likely to get cancer in the stomach and esophagus compared to people with healthy gums. The reasons why aren’t clear, but understanding this connection can help doctors screen patients with higher cancer risks.

Protect Your Gum Health at Bellevue Dental Oasis in Bellevue, WA

Gum disease doesn’t just affect your oral health, it affects your whole body! At our office, we offer periodontal care that helps treat and manage this very common problem. We also offer preventative services like cleanings and exams, which can help you keep your gums disease-free in the first place. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Cheong!

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