The Mouth and Body Connection

A Vision for Periodontal Disease and Overall Health


In July of 1998, the American Academy of Periodontology launched an effort to educate the public about new findings which support what dental professionals had long suspected: Infections in the mouth can create havoc elsewhere in the body.

Since July of 1998, evidence has continued to mount to support these links between periodontal health and overall health. While more research needs to be done to say definitively that people with periodontal disease are at higher risk for developing heart disease, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, preterm births, and respiratory disease, periodontists do know that periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, and all infections are cause for concern.

This connection between oral health and overall health should be understood clearly. Periodontal bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel to major organs and begin new infections. Research is suggesting that this may:

  • Contribute to the development of heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death.
  • Increase the risk of stroke and oral health importance.
  • Increase a woman’s risk of having a preterm, low birth weight baby.
  • Pose a serious gum disease and heart disease threat to people whose health is compromised by diabetes, respiratory diseases, or osteoporosis.