Health Focus

An Overview of the Oral Health and Systemic Health Association

A growing body of evidence suggests that the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums is important not only to the overall health of the mouth, but may be integral to the overall health of the body.1

While scientific research is ongoing, and is not yet conclusive as to the exact nature of the relationship between oral and overall health, there are several theories as to how serious gum disease might impact various systemic diseases.

Colgate Oral-Systemic Health News

One theory is that bacteria associated with periodontitis may enter the bloodstream through the mouth and thereby contribute to heart disease.2 Another theory is that the inflammation associated with periodontitis may influence other disease processes.3,4

While medical and dental professionals currently recognize that additional research is needed to better understand the association between oral health and systemic health, they also advise that patients can begin taking steps now that may make a difference to their oral and overall health. In addition to consumers educating themselves about ways to help protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke and prevent or control diabetes, consumers can also talk to their medical and dental care providers to learn about how good oral health habits can prevent or control periodontal infection and the resulting chronic systemic inflammation that can ensue.5

Colgate is happy to provide professional and patient education resources to help the dental team educate their patients on the relationship of oral health and overall health. You will find professional CE materials, videos and papers that will help you understand this important area. You will also find chair side patient education materials that you can download and print out for use with your patients.

Additional Resources


  1. Garcia RI, Henshaw MM, and Krall EA. Relationship between periodontal disease and systemic health. Periodontology 2000. 2001;25:21-36
  2. Demmer RT and Desvarieux M. Periodontal infections and cardiovascular disease. Journal of the American Dental Association. 2006;137:14S-20S
  3. Mealey BL. Periodontal disease and diabetes: A two-way street. Journal of the American Dental Association. 2006;137:26S-31S
  4. Scannapieco FA. Periodontal inflammation: from gingivitis to systemic disease? Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry. 2004;25(7) Supp 1:16-25
  5. Gurenlian JR and Wilder RS. Working Together to Manage Oral-Systemic Conditions, Inside Dentistry 2007;3 (Special Issue 1):225-233