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The Consequences of Gum Disease – Rowley, MA

Why You Can’t Ignore Swelling and Bleeding

Like many oral health issues, gum disease might not seem so dangerous at first. The earliest symptoms are usually very mild, and sometimes you might not notice any problems at all until Dr. St. Clair has examined you. Eventually, though, your gum disease could turn into periodontitis, and at that point you’ll suffer from serious health consequences – ones that you’ll need to address as soon as possible. If you want to avoid these issues, call us as soon as you suspect you have gum disease.

General Consequences of Periodontal Infection

Tooth Loss

Among the many side effects of gum disease, the most obvious is the tooth loss that occurs when the gums and underlying bone are damaged by a gum infection. The teeth continue to loosen as the tissues supporting them are destroyed and will eventually fall out. About 75% of adult tooth loss cases are linked to gum disease, so don’t delay in seeking treatment.

Natural Teeth Must Be Replaced

Your mouth can’t function correctly without a full set of teeth. If any are lost to gum disease, you’ll need to receive a restoration such as a bridge, partial dentures, or full dentures. Implants can also be used once your gum disease has been treated.


Sooner or later, if tooth loss is not corrected, you may end up needing dentures. And while prosthetic teeth are certainly preferable to no teeth, they will come with several disadvantages compared to your natural smile, including:

  • A relatively limited diet
  • Muted ability to taste your food
  • A lisping or clacking sound whenever you speak
  • Constant bad breath
  • Discomfort from an ill-fitting prosthetic
  • Self-consciousness over your teeth slipping
  • An older appearance

Medical Consequences of Periodontal Infection

"People think of gum disease in terms of their teeth, but they don't think about the fact that gum disease is a serious infection that can release bacteria into the bloodstream."

Dr. Robert Genco, editor of Journal of Periodontology

Heart Disease & Heart Attack

While a direct causal link has yet to be found, people with periodontal disease are about 2.7 times more likely to suffer heart-related diseases.


It has been found that strokes occur 3 times as often in people who have a form of periodontal disease.

Pre-Term Childbirth

When a woman has gum disease while pregnant, she is 7 to 8 times more likely to end up delivering a baby with low birthweight earlier than is healthy.


Blood sugar levels may increase while you’re suffering from gum disease; without periodontal treatment, you may end up relying on insulin.

Respiratory Disease

The bacteria that stay in your mouth during gum disease have a high chance of being inhaled and causing (or worsening) pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory diseases.

Your Bacteria Can Be Transmitted

There have been studies that show that the bacteria linked to gum disease can be transmitted to other people, such as from parent to child or between spouses.

Periodontal Infection is a Medical Problem

Periodontal disease has been researched thoroughly, and more and more links have been found between the condition and many systemic health problems. In other words, more than just your oral health is at risk.

Some Patients are At Higher Risk

Anyone can develop gum disease, but the consequences can be particularly dangerous for patients in the following groups:

Those having a personal or family history of:

  • Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Premature Childbirth
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory Diseases

Those having higher risk lifestyles, including:

  • Chronic Stress
  • Smoker
  • Sedentary and Overweight
  • Frequent Colds, Flu etc.
Have a Question? Ask Dr. St. Clair
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We accept 15 new patients per month into our practice. This limit allows us to maintain the level of service we feel best serves our patients. We look forward to meeting you, establishing a lasting professional relationship, and providing quality dental care to improve and maintain your health.

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