Gum disease is a condition that as many as 85% of Americans suffer with, and yet peoples' reaction to finding out they have it is often underwhelming. What many people aren't aware of is the connection between gum disease and countless other serious conditions. Learning about the links between gum disease and these other "scarier" diseases, as well as the overall importance of oral health, is key to ensuring people change their lifestyle habits to improve their gums and general health.

Here are a few of the connections that have been suggested between gum disease and other illnesses and conditions.

Other diseases that have had a suggested connection to gum disease include osteoperosis, Alzheimer's and dementia, respiratory disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

More scientific research is needed to determine if there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the systemic diseases and gum disease inflammation. It is clear by any measure, however, that gum disease isn’t helping the situation in any of these systemic conditions. There is a relationship between the gum disease and these diseases, even if it’s limited to the fact that people who have gum disease tend to have an unhealthy lifestyle that contributes to these conditions.

The good news is that moderate to severe periodontal disease is treatable. Traditional surgery has long been the only option. However, the FDA cleared the LANAP® protocol as a laser surgery option that facilitates a less painful, more successful treatment with a shorter recovery time. (For more information on the FDA-cleared LANAP® protocol, visit If you currently suffer from one of these systemic conditions, ask your dentist if you are at risk for gum disease and what treatment is right for you.