What Are The Consequences Of Gum Disease And How Do You Prevent It?

Gum disease is one of the more common dental health issues among adults. In fact, nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults aged 30 or older have been diagnosed with gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Whether's it is caused by smoking or not flossing frequently enough, gum disease can negatively affect your dental health and other parts of your body. Here are some of the consequences you can face with gum disease:

Tooth Loss

Tooth loss is one of the most common effects of untreated gum disease. When gum disease progresses, it can damage the bone and gums, leaving less support for your teeth. If your teeth are not properly supported, they may eventually separate themselves from the gums and fall out.

Heart Attacks

Advanced gum disease can even lead to heart problems. If the bacteria in your gums makes its way to your bloodstream, it can attach to your heart blood vessels and form clots, increasing the risk of a heart attack. 


If you have untreated gum disease, the bacteria can block your arteries and increase your risk of suffering a stroke.

Respiratory Disease

Respiratory disease is another health condition you have to worry about if you have gum disease. The bacteria in your mouth can get to your lungs and lead to pneumonia and other serious respiratory problems.

Premature Birth

If you are pregnant, you have to be even more concerned about gum disease. This oral health condition is more common in pregnant women because of increased hormones. If gum disease is left untreated, it can cause a premature birth by signaling your immune system to deliver the baby now.

How Can You Prevent Gum Disease?

  • Be Diligent About Flossing: Your toothbrush will not remove all the food particles in between your teeth, so you must floss on a daily basis. Flossing between each tooth will get rid of the plaque and bacteria responsible for gum disease. Be careful not to snap your floss, as this can irritate your sensitive gum tissue.
  • Include Vitamin C in Your Diet: Proper nutrition is important for guarding against gum disease. Vitamin C, in particular, can improve your immune system and reduce gum infections. Good sources of vitamin C include kiwis, oranges, bell peppers, papaya and strawberries.
  • Stop Smoking: Smoking tobacco products can have terrible effects on your gums. The chemicals in cigarettes can increase the risk of gum infections and slow down healing. Quitting the habit can potentially save your gums and help you avoid an array of other health conditions.
  • Clean Your Tongue: Your tongue can accumulate a lot of bacteria, so it is very important to clean it every day with a tongue scraper. If you do not keep your tongue clean, the bacteria can eventually transfer to your gums. If you do not have a tongue scraper, you can clean your tongue with your toothbrush.
  • Do not Skip Dental Visits: Even if your gums are in good health, you still should have dental cleanings every six months. The dental hygienist will use professional tools to remove hardened plaque underneath your gums, reducing the risk of infections. Your dentist can also check for early signs of gum disease during your dental visits.

Gum disease is a serious oral health condition, but there are several available treatments for it, including scaling and root planing, flap surgery and guided tissue regeneration. If you do get diagnosed with gum disease, do not wait to talk to a dentist, such as those at Scott W. Murphy, D.M.D., P.A., about treatment options. He or she can help you determine the best treatment option for your specific needs.