Gum disease often starts out as a minor issue that causes more annoyance than anything else. You may notice that your gums bleed when you brush and that they look a little more red than usual. In the early stage of gum disease, which is called gingivitis, the symptoms are mild. Gingivitis is very treatable and can typically be reversed at home by improving your oral hygiene routine. Flossing is especially important when it comes to reversing gingivitis. However, it is possible for gum disease to worsen and leave you with much more serious side effects. If gum disease is left untreated and allowed to worsen, gingivitis will turn into periodontitis. Periodontitis is the more serious type of gum disease and it can come with a list of dangers and permanent side effects.
Untreated gum disease can lead to serious pain. Gingivitis can cause some discomfort but it is not typically associated with intense pain. Periodontitis, on the other hand, can cause your gums to become inflamed, sensitive, and painful. Normal daily activities like eating and brushing your teeth can irritate your gums and lead to pain. The pain may start out dull but can develop into sharp pain if you do not take the appropriate steps to treat your gum disease.
Another potential side effect of untreated gum disease is receding gums. Periodontitis can cause your gums to recede permanently. If you lose too much of your gums to this process it can expose the tissue that covers the roots of your teeth. Common issues related to extensive gum recession include pain, infection, increased risk for decay, and potentially tooth loss. Catching gum disease early on and getting help with treatment is the best way to avoid the side effects of receding gums. Periodontitis is more serious than gingivitis but it can typically be treated with the help of a dentist. The best way to prevent gum disease from reaching a level where your gums start to recede is to be consistent with your routine dental visits so your dentist can monitor the condition of your gums.
Tooth loss is one of the biggest dangers associated with untreated gum disease. As outlined above, diseased gums will start to recede if left untreated. Another issue of periodontitis is that it can cause your gums to start separating from your teeth. Together, these two issues make tooth loss a very real possibility for people with untreated gum disease.
Other health issues
There are a number of physical health issues that are associated with gum disease. The causal relationship between all of the health issues and gum disease is not always clear. However, there is strong evidence that gum disease and health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke are linked.
There are a number of clear dangers to your oral and overall health if you develop gum disease and leave it untreated. Fortunately, there are treatment options for both gingivitis and periodontitis. If you suspect gum disease, schedule a time to see your dentist. Action now can help save you from more serious consequences in the future.