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Can periodontal therapy impact your general health?

As a member of the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, Dr. Acker understands that oral health conditions such as periodontal disease are linked to the occurrence of systemic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

Over the years there has been a growing amount of evidence that periodontal (gum) disease is associated with systemic health concerns for people with certain diseases and conditions. The following article addresses the link between systemic conditions and oral health. By focusing on providing patients with a wellness and preventive approach to their oral health and general health, Dr. Acker aims to reduce the different factors that put your health at risk.

Does a link exist?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) and the Bale/Doneen Method, research has shown that evidence does point to a relationship between periodontal disease and other diseases. In a cost-based study documented by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine there is valuable evidence that suggests non-invasive periodontal therapy may improve health outcomes in pregnancy and systemic conditions.

Gum disease and heart disease

A few separate studies have shown that periodontal disease is associated with heart disease.  According to recent research periodontal disease has been known to increase the risk of heart disease.

For a long time bacteria was thought to be the most predominant factor that linked periodontal disease to other diseases in the body. According to the AAP, scientists believe inflammation may be responsible for the link between the conditions. Basically by treating inflammation first we may be able to help manage periodontal disease and help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions at the same time.

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.

Gum disease and stroke

Additional studies have also distinguished a relationship between periodontal disease and stroke. In one study that looked at the causal relationship of oral infection as a risk factor for stroke, people diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular ischemia were found more likely to have an oral infection when compared to those in the control group.

Gum disease and diabetes

Diabetic patients are more likely to have periodontal disease than those without. Periodontal disease is even considered a symptom of diabetes and it is thought to cause complications for blood sugar levels and other diabetic concerns.

Periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar. Severe periodontal disease may also increase blood sugar. This puts people with diabetes at greater risk of diabetic complications.

Gum disease and other systemic diseases


Researchers may have found a link between osteoporosis and bone loss in the jaw. Studies suggest that osteoporosis may lead to tooth loss because the density of the bone that supports the teeth may be decreased. This means that the teeth no longer have a solid foundation to hold them in place.

Respiratory disease

Research has found that bacteria that grows in the oral cavity from gum disease or infection can be breathed in through to the lungs, potentially causing 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.

Statistics and information retrieved from AAP

So can periodontal therapy impact your general health?

Current research has established a link between periodontal disease and stroke and heart attack risk. The study performed by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reveals a direct correlation between some of these conditions and the amount of money spent on medical attention.

The Elite Dental approach is wellness, total health, and risk assessment

When was the last time you had a dental check-up? Here at Elite Dental in Staten Island, we provide risk assessment for patients from Staten Island, Brooklyn, New Jersey and surrounding suburbs. Book an appointment today and find out if periodontal treatment can help to alleviate your medical concerns.

For more information on the link between your oral health and overall wellness, book an appointment with Dr. Steve Acker today for a check-up and assessment of your gums and teeth.