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Health Problems Caused by Gum Disease

HomeGeneral HealthHealth Problems Caused by Gum Disease

senior couple hugging and smiling after learning about gum disease and it's health consequences

Gum disease is very common, but if untreated, it can have serious consequences. What is gum disease exactly? It happens when bacteria cause inflammation and infection in your gums. Over time, your gums start to recede, creating a pocket where even more bacteria build up. In its first stage – gingivitis – gum disease is easily reversed. If it’s ignored, the disease moves into periodontitis and becomes more severe. Here are the potential health problems caused by gum disease:

Brain Issues

Studies have shown a link between gum disease, tooth loss, and cognitive function. One study revealed that the risk of brain issues in older men increases with tooth loss due to gum disease. Other research shows a connection between gum disease and a buildup of a protein found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

Heart Disease

Gum disease and heart disease are linked, though researchers aren’t quite sure why. The fact remains that people with gum disease frequently have heart issues. Experts believe it could be because of inflammation. Inflammation caused by gum disease could trigger inflammation in the heart. The bacteria buildup in the gums could also spread to the heart.


Like with heart disease, there’s a connection between a person’s risk for cancer and gum disease. Research suggests a specific bacteria could be to blame. It’s associated with both gum disease and certain tumors. The bacteria also triggers other enzymes that encourage the growth of cancerous cells.

Getting Treatment at Edgewater Dental Arts

Gum disease can be scary, especially since it can have such serious consequences. While gum disease usually has symptoms, only a dentist like Dr. Cutting can know for sure. That’s why regular checkups and exams are so important. Depending on what stage your gum disease is in, improved oral hygiene at home may be all that’s necessary. For more serious gum disease, we offer periodontal therapy at our Edgewater dental office. Contact us to make an appointment!

Written by

John Cutting, DMD is an Annapolis dentist experienced in all aspects of dentistry. He provides complete care from general dentistry to cosmetic and restorative dentistry in his conveniently located and comfortable office, Edgewater Dental Arts.