The American Heart Association published a statement in April 2012 supporting an association between gum disease and heart disease. Studies show an association between gum disease and several serious health conditions, including heart disease, even after adjusting for common risk factors.
New research suggests bacteria from gum disease travel through airways and into the lungs and this may lead to potentially life-threatening respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.
Research studies show a strong connection between Arthritis and gum disease. In fact, another study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, showed that when people with a severe form of rheumatoid arthritis cleared up their gum disease, their pain and other arthritic symptoms got better.
Emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose, the main sugar found in the blood and the body’s main source of energy, and contribute to the progression of diabetes.
To date, the most significant relationship between dental disease and digestive disorders is from tooth loss and misaligned teeth. Studies show that changes in food preferences and subsequent nutrient deficiencies are associated with tooth loss and misalignment of teeth or the bite. Evidence suggests that nutritional deficiencies, regardless of their cause, are associated with impaired immune responses. Another study showed that these individuals are also subject to numerous health problems, directly related to their inability to properly chew their food. These subjects took more medication for gastrointestinal disorders than those with a higher chewing performance. Poor chewing was also associated with a decrease in vitamin A and fiber intake.
Pre-Term Low Birth Weight Babies
Recent studies have provided new evidence that periodontal disease in pregnant women may be a significant risk factor for pre-term low birth weight. A number of studies also suggest that 18% of all low birth weight cases may be attributable to periodontal disease. It now appears that periodontal disease stimulates the body to release chemicals that can induce labor. Study data also suggests that if a pregnant women’s periodontal condition worsens during pregnancy it will create an even greater risk of premature birth.