Gum Disease and Medical Conditions

Maintaining Oral Health for Better Overall Health

We know that your health is important to you. And while most people know that diet and exercise are important parts of a healthy lifestyle, many people forget about another important part of whole-body health – your mouth.

Severe gum disease is the 6th most common condition in the world1 and over 75% of adults in the U.S. have some level of the disease.2 The constant inflammation that can occur with severe gum disease may make it more difficult for your body to fight other outside threats, like stress or infection.3 Learn more.


Learn More About Your Oral Health

Heart Disease Heart Disease
Gum disease and heart disease are each linked to increased inflammation in the body.4 Both conditions also share some of the same risk factors, including increased age, poor diet and tobacco use. By following a healthy lifestyle and addressing the common risk factors of both diseases, you can help improve both your oral and overall health. 
Diabetes Diabetes
One out of three people with diabetes has severe gum disease.5 People with poorly managed diabetes are more likely to develop oral health complications like gum disease, which in turn can contribute to the progression of diabetes. Ultimately, it’s especially important for those with diabetes and signs of diabetes to keep their mouth, teeth and gums as healthy as possible.6 
Stroke Stroke
People who are recovering from stroke may be more susceptible to dental problems. Due to physical challenges, it may be harder to keep up with oral hygiene routines. Some people may even need help brushing, flossing and rinsing. 
Lupus Lupus
Around 1.5 million Americans have a form of lupus. An estimated 95% of those with Lupus will experience some type of oral health problem. Some medications used to treat lupus can cause oral symptoms, including mouth sores, dry mouth and even damage to the bones of the mouth and jaw. 7, 8
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis
Research suggests the gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis may be linked in more than one way. First, oral bacteria may be involved in the development or progression of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Also, inflammation caused by gum disease may contribute to inflammation in the joints. If stiff joints are making for painful brushing and flossing, talk to your dentist about ways to make this less difficult.9 
Organ Transplant Organ Transplant
After an organ transplant, you’ll take medications that lower your immune system’s response to prevent your body from rejecting the new organ. These drugs make it harder to fight off infections everywhere in your body, including your mouth.10 In fact, more than 80 percent of transplant patients get at least one oral infection.11
Oral Cancer Oral Cancer
Oral cancer treatment can greatly increase the risk of dental issues like dry mouth and cavities. Left untreated, these problems can lead to complications and even delay your cancer treatment plan. It is advised to see your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings to help prevent these types of complications.12 
Pregnancy Pregnancy
Pregnant women can be more prone to gum disease due to changing hormones and increased blood volume. The same bacteria that cause gum inflammation can end up in the bloodstream and target the baby, potentially triggering preterm labor or low birth weight. Gum disease treatment may reduce premature birth and low birthweight in women who develop gum disease during pregnancy.13 


1. Severe periodontitis: Sixth most prevalent health condition in the world; ScienceDaily; 2014.
2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Oral Health in America A Report of the Surgeon General; May 2000.
3. Inflammation and Bone Loss in Periodontal Disease; Journal of Periodontology; 2008.
4. Dental Health and Heart Health; American Heart Association; December 2013.
5. What Dental Professionals Would Like Team Members to Know About Oral Health and Diabetes; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
6. Oral Health and Hygiene; American Diabetes Association, September 2012.
7. Treating Patients with Lupus; Dimensions of Dental Hygiene; October 2013.
8. Another Lupus Challenge: Caring for Your Mouth; Lupus Research Alliance.
9. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gum Disease; Arthritis Foundation.
10. Oral Manifestations in Transplant Patients; National Center for Biotechnology Information; May-June 2015.
11. Organ or Stem Cell Transplant and Your Mouth; National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, April 2015.
12. Dental Preparation for Patients with Head and Neck Cancer Prior to Radiation Therapy; The Oral Cancer Foundation; September 2016.
13. Periodontal Therapy Reduces the Rate of Preterm Low Birth Weight in Women With Pregnancy-Associated Gingivitis; Journal of Periodontology; November 2005.

Give Us Your Feedback