Research has shown that untreated gum disease is correlated to diabetes, heart and blood vessel diseases, stroke, pregnancy complications, and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis and some types of cancers. Mouth infections may also increase the risk for those who are undergoing several types of surgery.
A study published by the New England Journal of Medicine found that by treating severe gum disease, the function of the blood vessel walls could be improved, thereby improving heart health. Studies in the Journal of Periodontology also found periodontal bacteria (which are present in inflamed gums) in the arteries of people with heart disease and in the placentas of pregnant women.
Another well-established link is between gum disease and secondary infection. An example is patients with defective heart valves. Bacteria from the gum pockets can enter the bloodstream to infect other parts of the body, including the heart valves. These patients are commonly warned by their doctors to take antibiotics before dental or surgical procedures.
Bearing all the above in mind, maintaining healthy gums potentially has a positive impact on the overall health of one’s body. Prevention is always better than cure.