James A. DiPerna, DMD
Amber M.S. Foronda, DMD
David C. Hay, DMD, MPH
RIDC/Fox Chapel Office

(412) 963-1911 | View Map

Warrendale Office

(724) 262-2333 | View Map

What is Periodontal Disease

The Medical Consequences of Periodontal Disease

Medical Consequences

"People think of gum disease in terms of their teeth, but they don't think about the fact that gum disease is a serious infection that can release bacteria into the bloodstream"
Dr. Robert Genco, editor “Journal of Periodontology”

Periodontal disease leads to inflammation of the gums. Inflammatory periodontal bacteria can enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body. Researchers have linked this process to a number of serious medical conditions. It is important to treat periodontal disease as quickly as possible to avoid the release of bacteria into your bloodstream.

Heart Disease & Heart Attack

Recent studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are 2.7 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Stroke

Studies have also shown that people with periodontal disease are 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.

Pre-Term Childbirth

Women with periodontal disease are 7-8 times more likely to give birth prematurely to a low birth-weight baby.

Diabetes

Periodontal infection can raise blood sugar in diabetic patients. Periodontal treatment often results in a reduced need for insulin.

Respiratory Disease

Periodontal infection in the mouth can be breathed in and increase the severity of such respiratory diseases as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.

Periodontal Infection Is a Medical Problem

Periodontal disease is no longer thought to be just a dental problem. Researchers are finding many correlations between periodontal infection and serious medical problems.

Some Patients Are at Higher Risk

Patients in certain higher risk categories (see below) should pay particular attention to any signs of periodontal disease.

Those patients having a personal or family history of:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Premature childbirth
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases

Those patients having higher risk lifestyles, including:

  • Chronic stress
  • Smoker
  • Sedentary and overweight
  • Frequent colds, flu, etc.

Higher Risk Patients

If you have been told you have periodontal disease (or some of its symptoms) it is vital that you seek evaluation and treatment.

Click here to learn about the dental consequences of periodontal disease.