South Shore Long Island
Periodontics & Implantology P.C.
Dr. Leslie G. Batnick, D.D.S.
Dr. Lois B. Levine, D.D.S.
Dr. Joo H. Kim, D.D.S.
Diplomates, American Board of Periodontology

Mouth - Body Connection

Periodontal disease is often thought of as a disease of the mouth. This may lead many to underestimate it, wondering why their dentist is so concerned about an infection in what is perceived to be a small area of their body.

In recent years, however, researchers have discovered that the consequences of untreated periodontal disease are not just limited to your mouth. In fact, poor oral health impacts your overall well-being.

Fortunately, this link – the oral-systemic link – goes both ways, which means that any changes you make to improve your overall health will also have a positive impact on your oral health.


Those with diabetes, particularly poorly controlled diabetes, are more likely to develop bacterial infections in the mouth. In turn, these infections can impair your insulin-processing abilities, further impeding your ability to control your diabetes.

This means that periodontal disease in a person with diabetes is likely to be more severe and difficult to treat than in a person who does not have diabetes. Those whose diabetes is well-controlled, however, will have better tolerance and response to treatment than those whose diabetes is not under control.

If you have diabetes, it is important that you notify your dentist and periodontist of this condition. Likewise, if you have periodontal disease, it is important that you notify your primary care provider or endocrinologist.

Heart Disease

With more than 60 million Americans currently affected by heart disease, it is the leading cause of the death in the U.S. Caring for your periodontal disease is a crucial step in preventing heart disease since research indicates that those with periodontal disease are twice as likely to have coronary artery disease.

Another important finding is that the actual number of periodontal bacteria is higher in those individuals who have suffered a heart attack. Another study indicated that the bacteria found in periodontal pockets share the same DNA as the bacteria found in plaque in the arteries of the heart. Plus, studies have also shown that electrocardiographic abnormalities are more common in people with deep periodontal pockets.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

While researchers aren’t yet sure whether there is in fact a causal relationship, those individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis are twice as likely to have periodontal disease.  One theory is that chronic bacterial infections (such as the ones that cause periodontal disease) may trigger the immune response associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

Respiratory Disease

When bacteria are consistently present in the throat and mouth (such as with periodontal disease), they may be inhaled into the lower respiratory tract and contribute to lung infections or worsening of existing lung conditions.


You likely already know about the many other benefits of maintaining a healthful diet, but you might not be aware that a nutrient-rich diet can also help protect you from periodontal disease.

Studies have suggested that adults who do not get at least half the RDA of vitamin C are twice as likely to have periodontal disease. Some of the best sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, and dark-colored vegetables like peppers and broccoli.

Drinking plenty of water does more than keep you well-hydrated. It also helps to keep your mouth moist. Dry mouth is a common contributor to oral diseases. If you suffer from dry mouth, please let us know. We have a number of solutions for dry mouth and we are happy to provide a recommendation that is right for you.