Oral Health and Medical Conditions
Oral Health and the Connection to Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children, or 8.3% of the U.S. population suffer from diabetes.1 If trends continue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as one in three U.S. adults could develop diabetes by the year 2050.2 Healthcare professionals have long known of the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease.1 In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology considers gum disease the sixth complication of diabetes.3
Diabetes causes elevated blood glucose levels that can damage the circulatory system, restricting blood flow to the gums, making periodontal tissue and bone more susceptible to infection.4 This condition creates an increased risk for cavities and gum disease.5, 6 The association between these conditions may also work in reverse7, with gum disease hindering attempts to control blood glucose levels.
1“Get the facts on Diabetes.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 2012.
2 "Diabetes Statistics.”Copyright 2012 American Diabetes Association. From http://www.diabetes.org. Reprinted by permission of the American Diabetes Association.
3 “Diabetes and Oral Health How Does Diabetes Affect the Mouth.” National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Accessed 2012.
4“Diabetes and oral health.” Copyright 2012 American Diabetes Association. From http://www.diabetes.org. Reprinted by permission of the American Diabetes Association.
5 “Dentists Can Help Diagnose Diabetes.” Delta Dental.
6 “Dental Health Also At Risk for People with Diabetes.” Delta Dental.
7“Gum Disease and Diabetes.” American Academy of Periodontology. Accessed 2012.
Oral Health and the Connection to Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease is the single largest cause of death in the United States. According to the American Association of Periodontology, research has shown that individuals with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer coronary artery disease.1
Periodontal disease and heart disease share many of the same risk factors, smoking and excess weight, both of which are controllable and preventable.2,3 These risk factors also influence other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, which is also linked to periodontal disease.
The connections between these diseases clearly indicate that periodontal disease can aggravate existing heart conditions:
• Periodontal disease causes gum inflammation, increasing plaque buildup and swelling of the arteries.
• When this bacterium enters the bloodstream, it affects the heart by attaching to fatty plaques in the arteries and contributing to plaque formation. The result may be acute cardiac syndrome, reducing blood flow to the heart.3
1 “Gum Disease Links to Heart Attack and Stroke.” American Association of Periodontology. Accessed 2012.
2 “Heart Disease and Stroke: An Oral Health Link.” Delta Dental. 3 “What Does Your Mouth Say About Your Heart?” American Association of Periodontology. Accessed 2012.