The Oral-Systemic Connection

The Dangers of Gum Disease

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Good oral health practices can help protect gums from inflammation or infection

Brushing and flossing daily can help remove bacteria and plaque, and regular dental cleanings can get rid of tartar buildup below the gum line. When the gums are healthy, the rest of the body can be protected from bacteria that originates in the mouth.


Caught early, gum disease can be reversible

Even if you already have early signs of gingivitis, periodontal treatment can help stave off gum disease and reverse the condition. Advanced gum disease can be treated to minimize its impact on the rest of your body.


Catching gum disease early can reduce the risk of other conditions

Maintaining oral health and seeking gingivitis diagnosis and treatment in the early stages of gum disease could reduce the risk of developing systemic illnesses and diseases, such as:

Pancreatic Cancer and Heart Disease

Inflammation from gingivitis and periodontitis can trigger infection in other areas of the body. This increases the risk of more serious health problems such as heart disease and pancreatic cancer.

Memory Loss

Keeping gums healthy may have a positive effect on memory and cognitive abilities. Studies have shown that adults with gingivitis score lower on memory and cognitive skills tests than those without signs of gum disease.


Diabetics have a difficult time fighting off infections, and periodontal disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. Diabetics should take extra care with their oral hygiene, as should those at risk for diabetes or who are pre-diabetic.

Preterm Delivery and Low Birth Weight Babies

Some research shows a link between gingivitis and a higher risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight babies. Women who are pregnant should be aware of the dangers posed by periodontal disease.

Other conditions which may be connected to gum disease include:

  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Respiratory problems
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Disease

Brushing and flossing regularly and going to the dentist on schedule for annual exams and bi-annual cleanings can help prevent gum disease and find it early if it presents.


Reduce your risk by having your gums checked for signs of gingivitis or periodontitis today. Contact us for an appointment at our Washington D.C. or Alexandria, VA offices.

Periodontists Dr. Justin Zalewsky, Dr. Michael Hoge, and the Precision Periodontics and Implant Dentistry team offer a range of periodontal treatment options to the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. area, including residents seeking a periodontist in Annandale, Arlington, Burke, Chevy Chase, Falls Church, Fairfax, and Springfield. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Zalewsky or Dr. Hoge, or request your appointment online.