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Oral Health Topics

Oral-Systemic Health

There is research indicating that periodontitis may be associated with several other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or stroke.1,2

However, saying that two conditions are associated is not the same as saying that one causes the other.

For example, studies have shown that more people who have gum disease have or experience one of the conditions mentioned above than people without gum disease.1-4 This finding, though, could be the result of another factor,4 like smoking; people who smoke are at higher risk for heart disease and stroke as well as gum disease.

Well-designed clinical trials are needed to establish whether a cause-and-effect relationship exists and to determine if, or how, treating gum disease may affect overall health.


1. Demmer RT, Desvarieux M. Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease: The heart of the matter. JADA October 2006;137(Supplement 2):14S-20S. Accessed September 20, 2011. (PDF)
2. Mealey BL. Periodontal disease and diabetes: A two-way street. JADA October 2006;137(Supplement 2):26S-31S. Accessed September 26, 2011. (PDF)
3. Zoellner H. Dental infection and vascular disease. Semin Thromb Hemost 2011;37(3):181-92. PubMed. Accessed September 26, 2011.
4. Nesse W, Dijkstra PU, Abbas F, et al. Increased prevalence of cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases in periodontitis patients: a cross-sectional study. J Periodontol 2010;81(11):1622-8. PubMed. Accessed September 26, 2011.

Additional ADA Resources

JADA Supplements

For the Dental Patient

For the Dental Patient is a JADA column that is geared toward patient education and intended to facilitate discussion between dentists and patients.

ADA Catalog

The patient education brochures listed below can be ordered online through the ADA Catalog:

  • Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body: Making the Connection (W203)
  • Diabetes and Your Oral Health (W604)