Recent research has looked into the connection between Gum Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). These are two common conditions. The researchers analyzed the findings from hundreds of existing studies and found that a strong connection does exist. However, they cautioned that further research is needed, with many questions on this link being currently unanswered.

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Recent research has found that there is a strong connection between Gum Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) [1]. This finding provides further confirmation of the link between oral and physical health.

This connection has led to the researchers suggesting that an “oral-gut axis” exists – which links these two conditions to one another.

This connection has important implications for treatments. The researchers have pointed out that treatment should take a holistic approach that takes the characteristics of both conditions into account [1].


This research involves gum disease and IBD. These are both conditions that affect many people, often resulting in a loss of quality of life.

Gum disease is a condition which involves the gums becoming red, swollen and sore [2]. It is caused by a build-up of plaque – which itself develops when sugary food and drink are consumed.

There are different degrees of gum disease, with mild cases known as Gingivitis, and severe cases known as Periodontitis. This research involved cases of periodontitis. Periodontitis involves receding gums, bad breath, deep pockets and loose teeth.

Meanwhile, IBD is a condition that involves severe stomach pain and diarrhea [3]. It is linked to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The Research

The research was carried out by a team from a range of institutions, including the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry, The Forsyth Institute and the University of Turin among others [1]. Their findings have been published in the arXiv pre-print server [1].

Their work involved reviewing over 300 existing studies [1]. These studies had either focused on periodontitis or IBD. However, each had featured the other condition to an extent. The intention of the research was to see if there was a connection between periodontitis and IBD.

There was an overriding finding regarding periodontitis. The researchers found that the spread of pathogens from periodontitis and the inflammation it involves contributed towards the onset of other health conditions – including IBD [1].

Then, with IBD, chronic inflammation is common. The researchers found that the studies showed patches of inflammation being found on the bowel wall between the two intestines [1].

While there are some differences in the symptoms of those with IBD, the researchers found that the main consistency was oral lesions [1]. Oral lesions are closely related to periodontitis – underlining the connection between the two.

Moreover, the researchers also noticed that throughout the studies, around 30% of IBD patients had periodontitis [1]. These consistencies suggested to the researchers that there was a clear link between these two areas.

The connection

Clearly, these findings all consistently showed that there was a strong connection between IBD and periodontitis. The researchers were surprised at the degree of their connection.

However, the researchers did point out that while the evidence suggests a connection, the causality and directionality of this link is unclear [4]. Therefore, they were reluctant to make any definitive conclusions.

The researchers pointed out that there didn’t seem to be a set sequence that causes this link. But they did say that their findings did suggest that an oral-gut axis exists. This axis suggests that both conditions play a part in the onset of the other, rather than it just being one causing the other [4]. The exact mechanism of this link though is unknown.

Future implications

Looking ahead to the future, the researchers have argued that more studies that look specifically at this link are needed [4]. Further research into this specific link may uncover more insights.

Finally, they also suggest that these findings show that healthcare professionals – including dentists, family doctors, gastroenterologists and other specialists should all work together to provide a holistic approach in order to maximize the effectiveness of treatment outcomes [4].

Thinking points…

[1] A key part of the research above focused on gum disease – which is a condition that affects so many of us. Early prevention and detection of gum disease is crucial. At a dental check-up, a dentist will be able to look for any signs of gum disease. Therefore, make sure you regularly attend check-ups, as this will enable any treatment to be arranged. We recommend booking an appointment now!

[2] Do you know anyone with IBD? If so, they might find this research to be incredibly helpful and interesting. Based on this research – those with IBD may need to take extra precautions with their oral health, which is something they are probably unaware of. Therefore, we recommend sharing this article with family and friends, as they might be able to pass it onto those with the condition. You could help many people by sharing this article now!

What we offer at Taradale Dental

Taradale Dental is a Calgary dental clinic that provide its patients with a wide range of dental treatment options and advice aimed at improving their oral health.

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary dental clinic at least twice per year for a regular dental check-up. At these check-ups, we provide a comprehensive review of a patient’s oral health. If any problems are detected, we have many treatments available. For example, these include cavity fillings and root canals. To strengthen your oral health, we recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly.

Here at Taradale Dental, we also have some cosmetic treatments available! These include dental implants, teeth whitening and Invisalign™! Many people find that these treatments have a positive impact on their appearance, confidence and self-esteem.

Moreover, all of our services at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are set in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide. This ensures transparent and fair pricing.

We hope to see you soon at our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website


[1] Tanwar, H., Gnanasekaran, J. B., Allison, D., Chuang, L-S., He, X., Aimetti, M., Baima, G., Costalonga, M., Cross, R. K., Sears, C., Mehandru, S., Cho, J., Colombel, J-F., Raufman, J-P., & Thumbigere-Math, V. (2023). Unraveling the Link between Periodontitis and Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Challenges and Outlook. arXiv. DOI:

[2] NHS. (2022). Gum disease. Available: Last accessed: 9th September 2023.

[3] NHS. (2023). Inflammatory bowel disease. Available: Last accessed: 9th September 2023.

[4] Baum, S. (2023). New comprehensive review strengthens case for ‘oral-gut axis’. Available: Last accessed: 9th September 2023.