Improving whole-person health has become a key focus in health care. A large body of evidence has shown that just as mental illness is associated with heart disease and diabetes, dental problems can exacerbate those and other conditions, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Improving oral health will reduce medical expenses, but overall health will also improve.

The following medical conditions may be associated with poor oral health, so patients need to regularly visit the dentist for preventive dental care.

1. Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

People with diabetes and metabolic syndrome have a higher risk of periodontitis. The condition, which is the advanced form of gum disease, can cause inflammation in the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys.

When people with diabetes are hospitalized for over a year, 15 percent will get a hospital-acquired infection. This is due, in part, to that lowered immune system. It’s been found that one-third of hospital-acquired infections are directly linked to periodontal disease.

2. Heart Disease and Stroke

There have been several studies that have found a connection between gum disease and heart disease. For example, it’s been noted that people with periodontal disease have a higher risk of a heart attack. This is due to the bacteria associated with periodontal disease and the endotoxins released during infection. 

These are known to lead to inflammation, a key component of heart disease and stroke. In addition, smoking, which is a large risk factor for heart disease, is also closely associated with periodontal disease.

3. Kidney Disease

Gum disease has also been associated with kidney disease, and according to recent studies, those who suffer from gum disease have more than twice the risk of developing kidney disease. Not only is oral health associated with kidney disease, but so is general health, which may be an early indicator of kidney disease.

4. Rheumatoid Arthritis

There has been a long-held belief that rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease are related. It’s been determined that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a higher risk of periodontitis, but the specific mechanism is not well understood. It’s believed that the inflammation that comes with the disease is involved.

5. Lupus

Lupus, an autoimmune disease, is one that researchers have found has a direct link to periodontal disease. Those who have lupus have been shown to have a significant increase in the prevalence of periodontal disease, with a powerful association being found in women.

6. Head and Neck Cancer Radiation

This treatment is often used to treat cancers such as head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and is also used to treat lymphoma and cervical cancer. Although radiation therapy is effective, it’s known that those who have been treated with radiation therapy have a higher incidence of periodontal disease and have a higher risk of losing their teeth.

7. Parkinson’s Disease

Some research suggests patients with this movement disorder may have a higher risk of periodontitis. It is believed that the underlying mechanisms for the causes of Parkinson’s disease are similar to those for periodontal disease, so a common pathogen may be involved.


This article shows that several medical issues have been linked to periodontal disease. Improving oral health and reducing the risk of periodontal disease is important for the health of the mouth and teeth and the body’s overall health.

Receive top-quality dental care for the entire family. Pike District Smiles offers comprehensive dental checkups, kid’s dentistry, root canals, periodontal care, dental implants, Invisalign, etc. We make every effort to accommodate patients needing emergency dental services in Rockville. Whether you or your child has experienced a dental emergency, call us or stop by, and we’ll do our best to see you as soon as possible!