Researchers have found links between mouth infections and diseases in other parts of the body. In particular, a link has been found between gum disease and heart disease. In fact, research suggests that gum disease may be a more serious risk factor for heart disease than hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, gender and age.
Diseased gums release bacteria into the bloodstream, which can then travel to other parts of your body and cause damage. Although further study in the area is needed, it is clear that your oral health can greatly affect your overall health.
Extra Note on Gum Disease
Recent studies have found that gum disease is site-specific, meaning that it is a localised infection rather than a generalised infection. If specific bacteria can be identified as the cause, treatment with antibiotic tablets is very successful. Not all gum disease responds to this treatment however, and it is possible that antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria can arise. Often, local treatment with antibiotic ointments can be very effective.