What Is the Oral Systemic Connection?

Did you know that research suggests that there are germs from periodontal diseases that can cause cardiovascular disease?


You may have come across the phrase “the mouth is the gateway of the body.” It comes from the fact that medical professionals have found evidence demonstrating this to be true. A person's oral health significantly impacts the health of the rest of their body. This link between oral health and overall health is the oral-systemic connection.


Dental exams are usually the first to show diseases like diabetes and Crohn’s disease. Most symptoms caused by these diseases first appear in the mouth. Research also shows there are links between periodontal disease and other conditions.



Oral Systemic Connection



Researchers did a groundbreaking study in 1954 on the adverse effects of oral germs on the body. The study reveals that oral germs can enter the bloodstream from the mouth. These germs spread throughout the body, causing various complications. They enter the body through toothbrushing, periodontal cleaning, tooth extraction, or chewing food.


The oral germs that enter the bloodstream can cause chronic inflammation. This chronic inflammation results in several disorders. These include heart disease, some types of cancer, and even diabetes. There have even been links between poor oral health and other conditions like dementia.



What Is Poor Oral Health



Poor oral health refers to the condition where many risk factors for dental issues are present. Risk factors of dental issues are cavities, tartar, and tooth decay, which can lead to gum disease. Dental diseases are largely preventable through good oral hygiene.



Diseases With Significant Oral Connections



Respiratory Diseases



There is a high possibility of inhaling oral bacteria from the mouth into the lungs. It has been found that the bacteria that causes periodontal disease causes pneumonia. Pneumonia is a severe respiratory disease that can have other complications.






According to the AAP, periodontal disease increases the risk of cancer. More specifically, patients might develop specific types of cancer like:


  • Pancreatic cancer - The chances of developing this cancer are at 54 percent.

  • Blood cancers - The chances of developing these cancers are at 30 percent.

  • Kidney cancer - The chances of developing this kind of cancer are at 49 percent.






There has been a link found between periodontal disease and diabetes. Diabetes tends to make gum disease worse in a patient. Meanwhile, gum disease makes diabetes harder to manage for patients with both conditions.



Stroke and Heart Disease



Bacteria from periodontal disease cause inflammation in the body. There is a link between chronic inflammation and heart disease. It has also been shown to increase the likelihood of strokes to happen.



Other Diseases Connected to Poor Oral Health



The exact connection between oral health and overall health is still under research. However, evidence shows that treating the inflammation caused by periodontal disease is helpful. It is effective in other conditions caused by inflammation. Here are some other diseases connected to poor oral health:


  • Breast and prostate cancer.

  • Osteoporosis.

  • Pregnancy issues.

  • Irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Weight gain.


For more on the oral-systemic connection, visit Perio Atlanta at our office in Atlanta, Georgia. You can also call (404) 352-3123 to book an appointment today.

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