Gum Disease is a very common oral health condition that affects many people. It is also closely linked to many physical health conditions, which can worsen our overall health. It is important to look after our gums, as this can help to improve both our physical and oral health.

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Gum disease is an incredibly common condition which is known to affect a huge number of people. Gum disease typically happens when plaque – a film of bacteria – builds up on the teeth.

The early stages of gum disease – called Gingivitis – is treatable. But more advanced types of gum disease, such as Periodontitis, can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Gum disease not only causes problems for oral health, but it also has an impact on physical health conditions. Evidence shows that gum disease makes people likelier to develop some physical health conditions. Four conditions in particular are supported by evidence.


Gum disease typically involves an imbalance of unhealthy and healthy bacteria within the mouth. The condition involves the gums becoming red, swollen and sore. In the worst cases, gum disease can result in bone destruction, chewing issues and loss of teeth.

It is now widely accepted that oral health directly impacts physical health, and vice versa. This relationship has been described as “inextricable” – meaning it is impossible to separate them [1].

Studies suggest that gum disease affects roughly half of adults aged 30 and above [2]. This is an indicator of just how common it is. As mentioned, gum disease is also linked to physical health conditions.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease is a debilitating condition that develops over a period of time. It is a condition that involves a progressive decline of brain functioning. It typically affects our memory and general mental abilities.

Most scientists believe that those with moderate or severe gum disease are likelier to develop Alzheimer’s Disease. For example, one study found that suffering from gum disease for 10 years or more resulted in a 70% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease against those who didn’t suffer from it [3].

Moreover, other research found that certain bacteria types are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease [4]. It is believed that the bacteria type p. gingivalis is especially linked to the condition. That bacteria type is very common in periodontitis.

Finally, it has been argued that the inflammation associated with gum disease could result in inflammation around the brain, which could speed up the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease, also known as Heart Disease, involves problems with the heart or blood vessels. Symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations.

One well-known study found that in those aged over 60, those with gum disease were linked with a 30% higher risk of a first heart attack [5]. Furthermore, a particularly concerning aspect of this research was that the researchers adjusted their methodology to take into account things like lifestyle habits. But the risk remained [5].

As was discussed earlier, inflammation also plays a part. Inflammation can result in the lining of the arteries becoming damaged, which further heightens the risk of heart disease.

It can be a life-threatening condition. Therefore, getting treatment is important. Gum disease appears to complicate its treatment, which is concerning.


There are a range of Cancers. Having gum disease appears to be linked to a higher risk of developing some types of cancer.

One study found that those with gum disease have a higher risk of having Stomach cancer, Oesophageal cancer, and Pancreatic cancer [6]. All of these have the potential to be life-threatening.

Another well-known study saw a research team use data from the dental exams of 7,466 participants [7]. These participants were tracked from the late 1990s to 2012. The researchers found that those with periodontitis had a 24% increase in the risk of developing cancer, when compared to those without [7]. Moreover, the highest risk was observed in cases of Lung Cancer [7].

However, it isn’t entirely known why the relationship between gum disease and cancer exists. It is believed that inflammation plays a role in this.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes and gum disease have been linked with one another for a long time. Research has consistently showed that having gum disease leads to an increase in the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes [8].

Inflammation is a key aspect of both conditions, which is viewed as one of the main connections. For example, Type 2 diabetes is known to increase inflammation in the gums.

Type 2 diabetes is also often associated with increased sugar intake. Sugar consumption is also closely linked to gum disease, due to its connection to causing plaque. Therefore, it is unsurprising that these two conditions are linked.

Healthcare bodies have been urged by dental professionals to ensure that those with diabetes are informed of the importance of oral health, due to the clear link.

Thinking points…

1) Gum disease can be a debilitating condition, and it affects so many of us. We need to make sure we look after our gums. Practical ways of doing this include eating less sugar, avoiding tobacco and brushing our teeth twice daily. If you are concerned about your gums, have a discussion with your dentist soon. Treatment options are out there, and include root planing and scaling.

2) Gum disease is preventable. The most important method of prevention, aside from having excellent oral hygiene, is attending dental appointments on a regular basis. This will allow a dentist to take a look at your overall oral health, and provide treatment recommendations if necessary. We recommend booking an appointment soon!

What we offer at Taradale Dental

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

It is crucial to brush your teeth at least twice a day and to floss regularly. Moreover, eating healthily and trying to avoid sugary foods and drink is important.

We advise our patients to attend our Calgary-based dental clinic twice a year for a regular dental check-up. When problems are detected, we have many treatments available. For instance, these include cavity fillings and root canals.

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

In addition, all of our services at our Calgary dental clinic Taradale Dental are in line with the Alberta Dental Fee Guide.

We would love you to visit our Taradale Dental clinic in Calgary! You can find out more about us by visiting our website


[1] Kapila, Y. L. (2021). Oral health’s inextricable connection to systemic health: Special populations bring to bear multimodal relationships and factors connecting periodontal disease to systemic diseases and conditions. Periodontology 2000. 87 (1): p11-16. DOI:

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Periodontal Disease. Available: Last accessed: 24th September 2022.

[3] Chen, C-K., Wu, Y-T., & Chang, Y-C. (2017). Association between chronic periodontitis and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease: a retrospective, population-based, matched-cohort study. Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy. 9 (56), DOI:

[4] Beydoun, M. A., Beydoun, H. A., Hossain, S., El-Hajj, Z. W., Weiss, J., & Zonderman, A. B. (2020). Clinical and Bacterial Markers of Periodontitis and Their Association with Incident All-Cause and Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia in a Large National Survey. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 75 (1): p157-172. DOI:

[5] Rydén, L., Buhlin, K., Ekstrand, E., de Faire, U., Gustafsson, A., Holmer J., Kjellstrom, B., Lindahl, B., Norhammar, A., Nygren, A., Nasman, P., Rathnayake, N., Svenungsson, E., & Klinge, B. (2016). Periodontitis Increases the Risk of a First Myocardial Infarction: A Report From the PAROKRANK Study. Circulation. 133 (6): p576-583. DOI:

[6] Lo, C-H., Kwon, S., Wang, L., Polychronidis, G., Knudsen, M. D., Zhong, R., Cao, Y., Wu, K., Ogino, S., Giovannucci, E. L., Chan, A. T., & Song, M. (2021). eriodontal disease, tooth loss, and risk of oesophageal and gastric adenocarcinoma: a prospective study. Gut. 70 (3): p620-621. DOI:

[7] John Hopkins Medicine. (2018). More Evidence of Link Between Severe Gum Disease and Cancer Risk. Available: Last accessed: 30th September 2022.

[8] Graziani, F., Gennai, S., Solini, A., & Petrini, M. (2018). A systematic review and meta-analysis of epidemiologic observational evidence on the effect of periodontitis on diabetes An update of the EFP-AAP review. Journal of Clinical Peridontology. 45 (2): p167-187. DOI: