Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support your teeth. This sticky plaque forms on the teeth. If the bacterial plaque is not removed by brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings the gums become infected and inflamed. Studies have found links between periodontal disease and heart problems, stroke, stomach problems, diabetes and pregnancy.
Periodontal disease has been linked to an increase risk of developing heart disease. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream when the gums are inflamed. An increase risk of developing a stroke has also been linked to periodontal disease. The bacteria that collect in your mouth, when periodontal disease is present, are some same bacteria that cause gastric ulcers. Diabetic problems and periodontal disease problems are closely intertwined. Also, high blood glucose (blood sugar) encourages and helps the bacteria in plaque to grow. Elimination of any gum inflammation can directly improve diabetic control.
Periodontal disease can also cause problems for pregnant women and their developing child. To prevent developing periodontal disease and in effect reduce the risk of developing serious systemic diseases it is important to maintain oral health.