Health Risks

Medical Risks and Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating sensibly, exercising, not smoking and consuming alcohol in moderation are important for good health. Holistic dentistry is about the interrelationship between the mouth and the rest of your body. Recent scientific studies have also found that individuals with periodontal disease have increased risk for many serious health problems. Toxins from unhealthy and infected gums circulate throughout the body causing inflammatory responses in various organ systems.

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Four Ways Periodontal Infection Causes Medical Problems

Gum disease sign
  1. Blood Stream – Chewing injects infectious bacteria into your blood stream.
  2. Breathing – Periodontal bacteria are breathed into your lungs and can increase the incidence of lung disease.
  3. Immune System – Periodontal infection can lower your immune system.
  4. Transmission – DNA tests show that periodontal infection is transmitted to your spouse and children.

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Research Findings

Alzheimer’s – Determining Factor

Gum disease early in life, less education, and a history of stroke are more important than genes in determining who develops dementia, concluded a study of 100 dementia patients with healthy identical twins.

Blood Cancers – 30% More Risk

A demographic study of nearly 50,000 men showed that those with periodontal disease had a 30% higher risk of blood cancers, including: leukemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Diabetes – Increased Severity

Periodontal disease affects blood sugar control, lengthens the duration of diabetic symptoms, and speeds the transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes.

Diabetes – 2.8 – 3.4 Times More Risk

Diabetic patients are 2.8 to 3.4 times more likely to have periodontal disease.

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Heart Attack – 2.7 Times More Risk

Demographic studies of 1,372 subjects showed those with periodontal disease were 2.7 times more likely to have a heart attack.

Heart Disease – 40 – 72% More Risk

Demographic studies of 10,907 subjects showed a 40% to 72% increased risk of heart disease.

Kidney Cancer – 49% More Risk

A demographic study of nearly 50,000 men showed that those with periodontal disease had a 49% higher risk of kidney cancer.

Lung Cancer – 36% More Risk

A demographic study of nearly 50,000 men showed that those with periodontal disease had a 36% higher risk of lung cancer.

Lung Disease – 1.5 Times More Risk

In a demographic study of 13,792 individuals, those with periodontal disease had a 1.5 times greater risk of getting chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Obesity – 76% Higher in Young Adults

In a study of 13,665 young adults (18-34) who had periodontal disease, 76% were more likely to be obese.

Osteoporosis – Treatment Link

Research has shown that treating osteoporosis can lower the severity of periodontal disease.
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Pancreatic Cancer – 63% More Risk

In a study of 51,529 males, it was found that men with periodontal disease had a 63% to 126% higher risk of pancreatic cancer.

Premature Childbirth – 79% Higher

Premature low birth-weight childbirth greatly increases complications. Women with untreated periodontal disease have a 79% higher chance of premature childbirth. Treatment gives an 84% reduction in premature births.

Further information on the relationship between periodontal disease and premature low birth weight babies can be found on the Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease) page.

Stroke – Bacteria in Blood Clots

Periodontal bacteria have been found in blood clots and those with periodontal disease have a higher risk of stroke.

Tongue Cancer – 5 Times More Risk

Men with advanced periodontal disease have more than five times the risk of tongue cancer.