How Gum Disease is Related to Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Ulcers

Happy Senior African American Woman

Recent findings show that there are many links between gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) and other health conditions. These connections demonstrate why it’s important to maintain your oral health as a part of your overall health. Taking steps to prevent gum disease –  or to treat it when it develops – will help you stay healthy.

3 Health Conditions Linked to Gum Disease


Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body is unable to properly regulate the amount of sugar in your blood. Our bodies produce a natural chemical called “insulin” to help control blood sugar, but people with diabetes often have trouble producing enough insulin. This can cause unsafe levels of sugar in their blood.

People with diabetes are at greater risk of mouth infections, and these infections can further affect your ability to process insulin. This can make diabetes more difficult to control.

When gum disease develops in people with diabetes, it is likely to be more severe than for someone without diabetes.  Treatment may also be more difficult.  However, by keeping diabetes under control and taking care of your mouth, you can keep your mouth healthy and more easily treat gum disease when it develops.

Heart Disease & Stroke

Keeping your gums healthy will also lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Swollen gums are more likely to allow germs from your mouth to enter your blood. Over time, this can cause clots and fatty deposits to develop in your blood vessels.

Stomach Ulcers

Gum disease has also been linked to stomach ulcers. One reason for this is that the germs that live in your mouth when you have gum disease are the same as those that cause stomach ulcers. If these germs aren’t controlled, they can make their way to your stomach, causing re-infection and new ulcers.

Preventing Gum Disease

To lower your risk of developing gum disease and related health complications, be certain to brush and floss daily to remove plaque from your teeth and gums. Keep up with your regular dental visits, including professional cleanings and gum evaluations.

About the Author

Garry J Bloch, DMD

The information on this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Tooth Wisdom® and Oral Health America do not recommend or endorse any specific dentists, products, procedures, opinions, or other information mentioned. See full Terms & Conditions.

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