Complex Medical/Dental Treatment

S. Clarke Woodruff, DMD -  - Dentist

S. Clarke Woodruff, DMD

Dentist located in Hellertown, PA

If you experience persistent bad breath or bad taste in your mouth accompanied by red, swollen, and bleeding gums, these may be signs of gum disease or periodontitis. Periodontitis can put you at increased risk of other chronic condition like diabetes, heart disease, pregnancy complications, and respiratory disease. To stop the further progression of gum disease, schedule a consultation with Dr. S. Clarke Woodruff at his dental practice location in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. With his clinical expertise and use of the most advanced techniques, Dr.Woodruff can treat and reverse the gum disease and lessen your chances of getting a chronic disease. Call or click to schedule an appointment today.

Complex Medical/Dental Treatment Q & A

What are the chronic diseases linked to gum diseases?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 20-30% of adults have serious gum disease that increases their risk of losing teeth. Besides causing inflammation and infection in the mouth, moderate-to-severe gum disease is linked to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases, premature birth, and osteoporosis.

What are the ways by which diabetes and gum disease are linked?

Some of the factors that are common to both include:

  • Increased blood sugar
  • Blood vessel thickening
  • Smoking
  • Poor oral hygiene


Nonsurgical treatment of periodontitis can lower the HbA1c level by as much as 20% in a six-month period. For this reason, it is essential for you to see Dr. Woodruff at least twice yearly for checkups and professional cleanings.

He will also recommend proper home care, which includes prescribing prescription mouthwashes to prevent further bacterial colonization.

How are heart disease and stroke linked to gum disease?

Researchers have found that those with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as compared to patients with a healthy mouth. Factors that explain the increased risk for heart and stroke in patients with gum disease include:

  • Increased colonization of bacteria in the mouth
  • Increased inflammation
  • Increased susceptibility to infection
  • A timely diagnosis and treatment of gum problems can reduce your risk of getting a heart attack or stroke.

What is the connection between periodontal disease and pregnancy complications?

Hormonal changes during pregnancy predispose the pregnant mother to gum infection called gingivitis, which, in turn, increases her chances for preeclampsia, a low birth weight baby, and premature birth. Studies have shown the following causes for this pregnancy complications:

  • Increased levels of prostaglandins
  • Increased inflammation
  • High levels of bacteria in the blood


Timely treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women can reduce these complications by 50%.

What is the connection between periodontal disease and osteoporosis?

Periodontal disease and osteoporosis both involve loss of bone. Estrogen deficiency and low-mineral bone density are common attributable factors to both conditions. Periodontal disease and osteoporosis both respond well to treatment if diagnosed early. Once diagnosed, Dr.Woodruff actively works with your physician to ensure that both are well-treated.

How are periodontal disease and respiratory diseases linked?

Recent studies have shown that periodontal disease plays a role in the causation of pulmonary infections like pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema, and it worsens chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The common links between periodontal disease and respiratory disease include:

  • Bacterial spread
  • Decreased immunity
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Inflammation


Once diagnosed, it is crucial for the physician and dentist to coordinate to treat both the disease expertly.

The health of your mouth could affect the health of your whole body. If you suffer from gum infections, schedule a consultation with Dr. Woodruff. He will address the issue and check the spread of disease to other sites in your body.