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Diet Food Stuff » Can Gum Disease Kill You? Everything You Need To Know 

Can Gum Disease Kill You? Everything You Need To Know 

can gum disease kill you

“Can gum disease kill you?” is a commonly asked question among people who are concerned about their oral health. After all, it’s something you have probably heard on several occasions throughout your life. 

First and foremost, gum disease is not an issue that should be ignored. It can affect people of all ages, is experienced by almost 1 in 2 adults, and can impact your life in many ways. In this guide, we’ll answer all of your key questions, such as;

  • What are the symptoms of gum disease?
  • Can gum disease kill you?
  • What health implications will gum disease bring?
  • How can I prevent/reduce the risks of gum disease?
  • How can gum disease be treated?

There may be some tough news to swallow along the way. By the end of this guide, though, you should be left smiling with a clearer understanding of gum disease and protecting your health. 

Understanding Gum Diseases: Causes & Symptoms

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is defined as the inflammation and infection of the gums. This includes the supporting tissues that protect the teeth as well as the bone beneath the surface.

Healthy gums should be firm to the touch and will not bleed. Meanwhile, periodontal disease is a progressive condition that can be bokeh down into four stages, which are;

  • Gingivitis – gums are red, puffy, and prone to bleeding but there is no bone loss. 
  • Mild gum disease – pockets form around the teeth, allowing bacteria to spread.
  • Moderate gum disease – ligaments and soft tissues become eroded by bacteria.
  • Advanced gum disease – significant bone loss occurs, making teeth fall out.

Before asking “Can gum disease kill you?”, then, it’s vital that you understand what to look out for. 

Symptoms 

The earlier you spot the signs of gum disease, the easier it will be to regain control of the situation. Key issues that should not be ignored include;

  • Discoloration – reddish or purple gums.
  • Bleeding when bruising or pressing the teeth.
  • Halitosis / bad breath. 
  • Gums pulling away from your teeth.
  • Sore gums or pain when chewing food.
  • Oral sores like ulcers that do not heal. 

If you experience these, consulting a dental expert ASAP is advised.

Causes

Periodontal disease is primarily attributed to poor oral hygiene, which could be caused by infrequent brushing or ineffective cleaning strategies. The bacteria in plaque attacks the gums, causing inflammation and subsequent tissue loss. It becomes particularly problematic when plaque develops into tartar as this is more difficult to remove without expert help.

Plaque build-ups caused by poor oral health routines aren’t the only cause, though. Diabetes, stress, hormonal changes, some autoimmune diseases, and heart disease may also heighten a person’s risk of gum disease. Genetics is another issue while long-term exposure to someone with gum disease (through kissing) can increase the volume of harmful bacteria, although periodontal disease itself is not contagious.

Smoking and chewing tobacco are also shown to increase the risks while sugar, even from fruits and other healthy snacks, can contribute too.

Health Implications Of Gum Disease

When thinking about the impacts of periodontal disease, asking “Can gum disease kill you?” is only one question to consider. Even before gum disease progresses to its most dangerous stages, its detrimental influence on your health can be huge.

Firstly, when teeth become loose or fall out, it can impact the structure of the jaw and the alignment of your teeth. Once this happens, you can become more prone to further tooth loss and related issues like discoloration. The combination of a broken smile and halitosis is also likely to significantly reduce your self-confidence and harm your mental wellness. 

Worse still, if left untreated, the bacteria that causes gum disease can spread throughout the body. In turn, the body’s natural inflammation response will kick in. Some potential health issues include;

  • Erectile dysfunction.
  • Premature birthing.
  • Diabetes.
  • Respiratory problems.

Moreover, inflammation can generally leave you feeling worse in yourself, especially when dealing with chronic pains and other ongoing conditions. For anyone looking to lose fat or adopt healthier lifestyles, this can be a major stumbling block too.

Can Gum Disease Kill You?

When bacteria spreads to the blood and other parts of the body, it’s never going to be good. New. But can gum disease kill you? In a word, yes.

The harsh reality is that untreated gum disease can increase the risk of various conditions that have the potential to kill you or, at the very least, reduce the length and quality of your life. For starters, both diabetes and respiratory problems can cause complications that lead to sudden death or progressive symptoms that shorten your lifespan.

Similarly, premature births can cause serious health complications for mother and baby alike. Infections are one of the most common reasons for this happening and gum disease is a very frequent cause. Other severe health links include;

Strokes & Heart Disease

When bacteria enters the bloodstream, arterial narrowing and heart disease become common problems. In fact, people with gum disease are at least twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as a direct result of this. If the carotid artery becomes narrowed or clogged, blood flow to the brain becomes restricted. The risk of strokes becomes significantly increased as a result. 

Cancer

Periodontal disease has also been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers. Oesophageal cancer (43%) and gastric cancer (52%) are more likely in people with gum disease compared to those without. It is additionally suggested that the risk of kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood-related cancers is heightened when the individual has untreated gum disease.

Dementia

Research additionally shows a link between gum disease and dementia, which is made even worse by the fact that dementia sufferers are at risk of reduced oral care. The bidirectional problem can ultimately shorten a person’s life while significantly hindering the quality of life too. The bacterial infections can also contribute to cognitive decline in people who don’t fall into the dementia category. 

Staying On Top Of Gum Disease: Prevention & Lifestyle Changes

As with many aspects of health and wellness, prevention is the best form of protection by far. Given that plaque is a major threat to your gums, the two main steps for protecting yourself are to reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth and remove plaque before it has time to harden into tartar.

The first part can be achieved by switching your diet. The carnivore diet can be great for your overall oral health as the teeth have to chew. Crucially, though, sugar is virtually eliminated, thus having a huge impact on bacteria levels and plaque. Meanwhile, drinking more water and staying hydrated throughout the day can wash bacteria away.

Of course, brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing will remove bacteria before it hardens. Waiting half an hour after meal times before brushing will allow you to keep plaque levels to a minimum. Avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol should be on the agenda too. Likewise, visiting the dentist for regular checkups and hygiene will aid your cause. 

How To Treat Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that will become very hard to overcome if you leave it too late. When you address it when it’s gingivitis or mild gum disease, though, it is possible to manage the situation. While you cannot cure gum disease, it puts a stop to further damage and gives the tissues a chance to partially repair themselves. 

Dentists can spot gum disease during an examination, although further investigations are needed in some cases to highlight the severity. Following this, dental cleaning will be used to make an instant positive impact. This can include Scaling and root planing to remove plaque from under the gum line. Planing is then used to prevent bacteria from entering under the gums.

Depending on the nature of the issue, you may also experience one or more of the following treatments;

  • Surgery – pocket reduction surgery removes plaque and tartar that can’t be reached in a hygiene appointment. It also, as the name implies, reduces the pockets formed around the teeth. Alternatively, LANAP (Laser-assisted new attachment procedure) may be used as a less intrusive option.
  • Grafting – gum grafting is a procedure in which exposed roots are covered by new gum tissues. This is used when the gums are receding. Alternatively, bone grafting is used to replace the bone lost to gum disease and helps the body regenerate new bone over time.
  • Platelet-rich fibrin (PRF) and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which use your blood to aid the healing process in the area of your mouth where gum disease has caused damage. It can additionally support surgery by reducing the time the body needs to heal itself. 

Whichever treatment is selected, it should be followed by improved dental hygiene. This will stop plaque buildup and help you stay on top of your oral health for the long haul. 

The Final Word

Gum disease is a serious health issue that often goes undetected and underappreciated until it’s too late. If left untreated, it can cause major problems for your oral health as well as your general wellness. Thankfully, though, identifying the issue early should enable you to regain control of the situation and enjoy a better quality of life.

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