Health Consequences of Periodontal Disease

Keeping your teeth and gums clean and free of disease is not just good for your smile – it’s also good for your overall health and wellness. An ongoing body of research has linked gum disease to other serious, potentially life-threatening diseases, making it more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene.


The link between gum disease and diabetes is complex. Research indicates that people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease than people without diabetes, because their bodies are more susceptible to infections. In people with diabetes, gum disease can increase blood sugar levels and raise the risk of other diabetes complications.

Heart Disease

Although the connection between gum disease and heart disease is not entirely clear, there is a strong association. Research suggests that bacteria that causes gum disease can get into the bloodstream, causing the arteries to build up plaque and harden. This can compromise blood flow and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and hypertension.

Scientists also believe that individuals with preexisting heart disease that develop gum disease may be in danger of further complications.

Respiratory Problems

Some research has found that bacteria in the mouth (such as the bacteria that infects the gums) can be aspirated into the lungs, causing respiratory problems like pneumonia.

Pregnancy Complications

Expecting mothers are naturally more susceptible to oral infections, and infections can increase the risk of pregnancy complications. Pregnant women with gum disease may be more likely to deliver premature or small babies.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

The following symptoms may indicate gum disease:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
  • Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Pus in between the teeth and gums
  • Gums that appear to pull away from the teeth

Sometimes gum disease does not cause any noticeable symptoms until it has reached the advanced stages. For this reason, we recommend regular check-ups, where our team can identify and monitor any budding areas of concern.

Contact Our Periodontists

Have you been diagnosed with gum disease? Are you experiencing any of the warning signs of the disease? You should visit our practice for a thorough evaluation with our knowledgeable, talented dentists, Dr. Darrin Rapoport and Dr. Ralf Schuler. Dr. Rapoport and Dr. Schuler have been named Diplomates of the American Board of Periodontology, an elite distinction among dentists that treat gum disease.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Rapoport or Dr. Schuler, please call 206-575-1086 or email us today.