Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums that can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Despite being largely preventable, it is surprisingly common. When neglected, gum disease not only affects your oral health but can have systemic impacts on your overall health as well. Let’s delve into the risks of not treating gum disease.
What Are The Risks of Not Treating Gum Disease?
Here are the various issues that may arises if you will ignore the gum disease.
1. Tooth Loss:
The most direct consequence of untreated gum disease is tooth loss. As the disease progresses, the tissues and bones that support the teeth become damaged, leading to loose teeth that may eventually fall out or need extraction.
2. Heart Disease:
Studies have indicated a link between gum disease and heart disease. The theory is that inflammation in the mouth caused by gum disease can lead to inflammation in the blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart disease.
While diabetes can increase the risk of developing gum disease, it also goes the other way. Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar level. This can put diabetics at increased risk for diabetic complications.
4. Respiratory Diseases:
Bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled, leading to respiratory diseases such as pneumonia. This is particularly true if you already have, or are prone to, lung conditions.
5. Pregnancy Complications:
Pregnant women with gum disease might be more likely to go into early labor, giving birth to low birth weight babies.
6. Cognitive Decline:
Some research suggests a potential link between gum disease and cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease, although more research is needed in this area.
7. Digestive Problems:
Since digestion begins in the mouth, untreated gum disease can lead to digestive issues. If gums bleed, you’re likely swallowing blood which can cause stomach irritation and upset.
It’s important to remember that prevention is key. Good oral hygiene, regular dental check-ups, a balanced diet, and avoidance of tobacco can go a long way in preventing gum disease. If you notice symptoms such as swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums, receding gums, persistent bad breath, or loose teeth, seek dental advice as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage the symptoms of gum disease and improve your oral and overall health.
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