Most people know gum disease or periodontal disease is bad for oral health. What many don’t realize, however, is that untreated gum disease can actually lead to a number of serious health problems. This blog post will share six of the most harmful consequences of untreated gum disease. Understanding the risks associated with this condition will motivate you to seek treatment if you think you might have gum disease.
1. Lead to Tooth Loss
Tooth loss is the first and perhaps most obvious consequence of untreated gum disease. Gum disease begins when plaque and tartar build-up on your teeth and gums, causing them to become inflamed. If left untreated, this inflammation can eventually break down the bones and tissues that support your teeth, leading to tooth loss.
You might not realize it, but your gums are essential for tooth support. The gum tissue fits snugly around each tooth, helping to keep it securely in place. When gum disease causes this tissue to break down, teeth can become loose and eventually fall out.
If you have already lost one or more teeth to gum disease, you might need tooth replacement options such as dental implants. Dental implants provide a permanent solution for tooth loss and can help restore your smile.
2. Linked to Heart Disease
Studies have shown that there is a link between gum disease and heart disease. People with periodontal disease are more likely to develop cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and strokes. While the exact reason for this link is not yet clear, it is thought that bacteria from infected gums can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the development of heart disease.
No matter the reason for the link between gum disease and heart disease, it is clear that treating gum disease is important for overall health. If you have gum disease, be sure to talk to your dentist about ways to improve your oral health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
3. May Raise the Risk of Diabetes
Gum disease has also been linked to diabetes. People with diabetes are more prone to developing periodontal disease, and people with periodontal disease may find it difficult to effectively control their blood sugar levels. This is because gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body, making it harder for the body to use insulin effectively.
If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your gum health closely. Be sure to see your dentist regularly and brush and floss your teeth daily. If you develop any signs of gum disease, be sure to talk to your dentist immediately to begin treatment.
4. May Increase the Risk of Dementia
Evidence suggests that people with gum disease are more likely to develop dementia later in life. One theory is that the bacteria associated with gum disease can travel to the brain and contribute to cognitive decline. Another theory is that the inflammation caused by gum disease can damage brain tissue and lead to dementia.
More research is needed to confirm the link between gum disease and dementia, but it is clear that taking steps to prevent gum disease is important for overall health. Not only can gum disease lead to tooth loss and other oral health problems, but it may also increase the risk of developing dementia.
5. Untreated Gum Disease Can Cause Pregnancy Complications
Pregnant women who have gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely or have low birth weight babies. Additionally, some studies have found that pregnant women with periodontal disease are at an increased risk for preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy.
You might not realize it, but taking care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy is important for your own health and your baby’s health. So if you’re pregnant and have gum disease, be sure to see a dentist or periodontist right away so you can receive the treatment you need.
6. Worsen Existing respiratory Conditions
Finally, gum disease has been linked to several respiratory conditions, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. This is because bacteria from infected gums can enter the lungs and cause irritation or infection. People with existing respiratory conditions such as asthma may find that their symptoms worsen with gum disease.
As you can see, there are a number of serious health risks associated with untreated gum diseases. If you think you might have periodontal disease, it’s important to see a dentist or periodontist so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible. By caught early enough, gum diseases are often treatable and reversible—so don’t delay in seeking help!