Some would say the eyes are the windows of the body; however, a dentist may disagree. Your gums and gum health provide a picture of a your overall health. By simply looking at the condition of someone’s gums, you may be able to see a lot more about their health than you would have previously thought. In fact, periodontal disease seems to play a role in diabetes, premature birth and low birth weight, and even cardiovascular health.


For some time, researchers have been aware that there is a link between diabetes and periodontal disease. While those with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease because of an increased risk of infection, it can also be a two-way street. Severe gum health issues can increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to maintain a healthy glucose level. The more inflamed the gums become, the more effect it has on the endocrine system of a diabetic. Ensuring healthy gums is a proactive way to stay on top of diabetic issues before they start.

Premature Birth or Low Birth Weight

Research has concluded that women with periodontal disease may have an increased risk of premature birth or the risk of giving birth to a child with low birth weight. This is because the bacteria causing inflammation in the gums can get into the bloodstream and from there to the fetus. Increased blood flow and risk for infection predisposes those with periodontal disease to complications due to gum health, so ensuring proper care during pregnancy is essential for both mother and baby.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Inflammation anywhere in the body can be detrimental to one’s health, but inflammation of arteries leading to and from the heart can be life threatening. Inflammation in these vessels can lead to atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries. Once atherosclerosis begins, you are at a much greater risk for heart attack or stroke. Infections within the gums can cause inflammation throughout the body, including arteries. Since the gums are very vascular, infection within them can be incredibly dangerous. Bacteria from the mouth can easily travel throughout the body, including the heart. Infections within the gums should be taken very seriously, and prevented if at all possible.

Healthy Habits Are Key

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and personal hygiene regimen has multiple positive effects. Regular dental checkups, flossing and brushing are just a few ways you can ensure your gums are in the best shape they can be. Most importantly, if you feel you are having signs of periodontal disease, get it checked right away. It could save you from a lot of trouble down the road.