When Your Body Attacks Your Teeth: Combating Autoimmune Dental Problems

4 Systemic Health Conditions Affected By Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease. Originally, gum disease may present as the swollen, red gum tissue that is characteristic of gingivitis. The gums may bleed more easily as you brush or floss, signaling that the tissues have become inflamed, but as the disease progresses, gum recession and even bone loss may occur.

Even though it affects the gums and underlying bone tissues associated with the mouth, periodontal disease can also affect other areas of the body. Here are a few systemic conditions that are influenced by severe cases of gum disease:


Diabetes is caused by the body's inability to regulate blood sugar. Even though there is no evidence suggesting that periodontal disease affects the pancreas' ability to secrete insulin, there is a connection between blood sugar levels and inflammation associated with severe gum disease.

Periodontal disease can cause an increase in blood sugar, which can make it more difficult for insulin to normalize the blood glucose levels.

Heart Disease

The oral bacteria in the mouth not only cause inflammation of the gums. They also cause inflammation of the blood vessels. Periodontal disease is associated with pockets in the gums through which oral bacteria can enter the blood stream. As the microbes are transported throughout the arteries, the inflammation that they cause can incite the production of plaques on the vessel walls.

In response to the inflamed tissues, cholesterol builds up at the sites of the inflammation to help repair the tissue, but the buildup also causes the clogging of the arteries.

Complications with Pregnancy

Periodontal disease is also associated with problems during pregnancy. As oral bacteria travel to other areas the body and incite inflammation, they can increase the likelihood of preterm labor and the delivery of a baby with a low birth rate. As a result, expectant mothers are advised to take exceptional care of their teeth and gums. Additionally, they may be instructed to schedule a dental appointment early in their pregnancy to begin monitoring and correcting any oral health issues that could lead to periodontal disease.

Erectile Dysfunction

Periodontal disease also associated with an increased incidence of erectile dysfunction. Results from a Turkish study showed that study participants who suffered from periodontal disease were more apt to have erectile issues as well.

To learn more about how your gum health affects your body, schedule an appointment with a family dentist in your area such as Tony Parsley, DMD.