Negative Effects of Untreated Gum Disease


Untreated gum disease leads to a cascade of negative effects that can leave you with a host of dental issues as well as other health problems.  If you’re not aware, most people are suffering from gum disease on some level. The condition is so common because the bacteria that causes it thrive on sugar and carbohydrates found in foods such as sodas, candies, desserts, pastries, bread, and fruit juice. 

If you have untreated gingivitis or periodontal disease, the bacteria that usually live in your mouth will begin to multiply beyond control. This process creates an acid environment that is lethal to the good bacteria and triggers an overgrowth of harmful bacteria which further damages your teeth and gums. 

Untreated periodontal disease can also lead to tooth loss as well as an increased risk of contracting other diseases including heart disease, kidney problems, stomach ulcers, and diabetes mellitus. The sooner you get treatment for gum disease, the better chance you have of avoiding these potential consequences

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Untreated gum disease can also lead to an increased risk of a heart attack. It’s estimated that untreated gum disease is one of the most common risk factors for heart disease. If you have periodontal disease, your gums may be so damaged that they expose the roots of your teeth, which are covered by blood vessels. 

If bacteria from the mouth continue to enter these blood vessels, a gum infection can lead to clots and eventually cause a heart attack. In addition to causing a heart attack, untreated gum disease can increase your chances of suffering from a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and emphysema. 

Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

Untreated gum disease is not just an aesthetic problem,  it can be a health issue as well. Untreated periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. If you think your teeth are healthy but still have some tartar buildup or plaque on them despite regular brushing and flossing, you may have gum disease. 

Your dentist can tell you if you have gum disease by examining your mouth with a special lighted instrument called the explorer. If they see signs of bleeding or inflammation in the gums, you need to start gum disease treatment as soon as possible. A dentist will give you a prescription for antibiotics that will kill the bacteria responsible for the infection. You should also see your dentist within two weeks to ensure that any treatment begins as soon as possible.

Gum Disease and Kidney Failure

Without timely and proper treatment, gum disease can lead to kidney failure. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 50 percent of people with untreated periodontal (gum) disease will develop kidney disease within 10 years. This is because the bacteria that cause gum disease also produce substances called toxins that damage your kidneys when they are not treated in time.

Gum Disease and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Untreated gum disease is also associated with a higher risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. People who have untreated periodontal disease are at a greater risk for the onset of Type 2 diabetes mellitus than people who do not have gum disease. 

In fact, a recent study found that people with gingivitis or periodontitis have a 20 percent greater chance of developing diabetes than those without gum disease. If you’re looking to improve your health, it’s important to maintain good oral health habits and prevent the onset of gum disease.

The bottom line

There are many serious health problems that can arise from untreated gum disease, including heart disease, tooth loss, kidney failure, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. While there is no known cause-and-effect relationship between gum disease and these conditions, it is safe to say that they are likely linked.