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Gum disease can be a sneaky condition. Patients may not even realize they have gum disease until it reaches a severe stage. By then, the infection may have reached other areas of the body.
Here are some of the ways in which gum disease can affect your overall health.
- Diabetes. Studies have shown that people with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease. In one study, patients with diabetes were 2.5 times more likely to have gum disease than people without diabetes. Scientists are still working to understand how diabetes and gum disease are linked, but people with [type 2 diabetes]( and [prediabetes]( should work with their healthcare providers to manage their blood glucose.
- Heart health. Gum disease, or periodontitis, has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. One study found that patients with gum disease have a 2.5 times higher risk of heart attack.
- Pregnancy. Pregnant women have a higher risk of gum disease, and research has shown that women with gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver early or to have a low birth weight baby.
- Respiratory health. Bacteria and other toxins in the mouth can spread into the lungs and worsen respiratory conditions like COPD, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
- Overall oral health. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss, which can have a negative impact on anyone’s self-esteem. It can also impact one’s ability to eat a healthy diet, which can then lead to other health problems.