• 16 October 2023
  • Professor Alessandro Quaranta

Last updated on October 17, 2023

Have you ever heard the saying, “The mouth is the window to the body”? Beyond giving us a captivating and recognisable smile, our mouth, gums and teeth provide valuable insights into our overall well-being. Many studies conclude that there is a strong relationship between oral health and general health. So what does that mean if you have, or are susceptible to, gum disease?

Our friendly experts at Smile Specialist Suite are here to answer all your questions about the link between gum disease and health.

general health and oral health

The experts at Smile Specialist Suite discuss the link between gum disease and health.

Understanding gum disease.

At its core, gum disease, or periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition that affects the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. The first stage of gum disease, called gingivitis, can progress to more severe gum disease, called periodontitis if not addressed appropriately.

The early stage of gum disease presents with swollen or bleeding gums, inflammation and pain. Advanced gum disease, or severe periodontitis, will present with bad breath, changes in the way your teeth fit together, and potentially tooth decay that can lead to loose teeth, infection in the tooth root or even bone loss.

Factors like plaque buildup, harmful bacteria, poor oral hygiene, and certain lifestyle choices play roles in developing periodontal disease. Ignoring gum disease can spell disaster not just for our pearly whites and gums, but for our entire body.

link between oral health and general health

Gum diseases cause inflammation and trigger the release of infection-fighting cells that can impact different organs in your body.

What is the link between oral health and general health?

Growing research points to an intriguing connection between gum disease and health issues. But how does a problem in the mouth impact, say, the heart or lungs?

The key might lie in systemic inflammation and the migration of harmful bacteria from your mouth to the rest of your body. For instance, bacteria from infected gums can enter the bloodstream and affect other organs in your body, potentially triggering various diseases such as heart disease or cancer.

What health conditions are associated with gum disease?

Research has suggested links between general health and gum infections that can’t be ignored. Healthy teeth and gums promote good overall health, but poor oral health and failure to treat gum disease can lead to significant health problems. They trigger your immune system to circulate white blood cells, our infection-fighting cells. This increases the risk of:

  • cardiovascular disease (heart disease)
  • diabetes
  • respiratory infections and asthma
  • stroke
  • complications during pregnancy
  • even specific cancers, such as mouth cancer

The consistent thread among these conditions is the role inflammation and bacteria play in their development or exacerbation.

relationship between oral health and general health

Poor teeth and gum health can lead to other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and even cancer.

Why oral hygiene is essential for overall health and well-being.

Imagine protecting your heart by caring for your gums—it’s not so far-fetched! By staving off gum disease through vigilant oral care, we can effectively safeguard our overall health. It can be considered our first line of defence in prevention and disease control.

When you take care of your gums and teeth, you’re taking a proactive step to safeguard your entire body!

How you can reduce your risk factors to prevent gum disease.

It’s more than just brushing and flossing; our daily habits profoundly influence our oral and overall health. Smoking, unbalanced diets, chronic stress, and poor sleep can accelerate gum disease’s onset. By making proactive lifestyle changes—quitting smoking, managing stress, and embracing a balanced diet—we not only enhance our oral health but our general well-being too.

Other ways you can reduce your risk of gum disease:

  • regular professional cleaning of your teeth and gums
  • use a fluoride toothpaste
  • brushing your teeth twice per day
  • establish good flossing habits
  • see your dentist regularly for deep cleaning and for early detection of any gum disease
oral health and general health

You can improve your health by using a soft toothbrush twice a day, flossing, improving poor nutrition, and having regular dental care such as scale and cleans.

The remarkable connection between a healthy oral cavity and whole-body wellness.

The fascinating connection between our mouth and body emphasises the need for an integrated approach to healthcare. By acknowledging the symbiotic relationship between oral and systemic health, healthcare and dental professionals can provide more holistic care.

A healthy mouth equates to a healthier you. Prioritise your oral hygiene, schedule regular dental checkups, and always remember—the mouth truly is an indication of your overall health.


Can you live a healthy life with gum disease?

While it’s possible to lead an active and healthy lifestyle with gum disease, the condition can have serious implications for your oral and overall health. It’s crucial to address gum disease at its earliest stage to ensure optimal health and prevent potential complications

What happens if gum disease goes untreated?

If left untreated, gum disease can progress from gingivitis to periodontitis, a more advanced form of gum disease. This can lead to an infected gum line, receding gums, sensitive teeth, chronic inflammation and tooth loss. In addition, oral bacteria can spread and lead to an increased risk of systemic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

How long until gum disease is serious?

The progression of gum disease varies for each individual. Gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, its severe form, within a few weeks to months if not treated. Regular dental check-ups are essential to catch and address any signs early and to maintain healthy gums and teeth.

Professor Alessandro Quaranta

About The Author

Professor Alessandro Quaranta

Professor Alessandro Quaranta (Prof Q) has been in specialist practice for 15 years since completing his specialist training from the “University of Rome,” La Sapienza”, the top university in Italy* and the largest University in Europe.

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