Can Gum Disease Kill You? All You Need To Know About Periodontal Disease


In your childhood and even in your current scenario, you must have faced swellown gums once in your life. This type of oral health issue is commonly called gum disease or periodontal and is caused by bacterial infection. These types of infections usually promote various health issues such as bad breath, decaying of teeth, and even swelling in gums.

In recent times, many people have started questioning that do gum disease can be life-threatening. Well, it might be possible to some extent but not directly, which we have discussed below in detail.

How Can Periodontal Disease Trigger Life-Threatening Issues?

If you are suffering from periodontal disease and you are worried about your life, then be assured that nothing is going to happen to you. But if you have any major health issues such as related to your heart or have any bad habit of smoking or drinking alcohol, then you need to rethink the way you live. This is because gum disease is more prone to elevate life-threatening diseases like strokes and even cancer.

Periodontal Disease

Now, you might be thinking how a small oral health can cause such deadly diseases. Well, you have to note that periodontal disease itself is not lethal and can cause cancer or heart attacks. However, it can be a contributor to potentially increasing the risk of death due to its serious health complications.

According to the American Heart Association, patients with gum disease are three times more prone to heart-related issues. The inflammation caused by periodontal starts attacking the healthy cells of the body, which may become serious if left untreated. This is the reason gum disease is associated with heart health issues.

What Are The Potential Health Risks That Come With Gum Disease?

As you might have understood, gum disease may not kill you directly; it may contribute to worsening the health issues that you already have. Here, it can trigger some of the life-threatening health issues like cancer that are incurable. So, let’s understand in detail how a simple gum infection can make you sick, which is next to impossible to treat.

Can Cause Disease Like Cancer

Combined studies conducted by various researchers have predicted the connection between gum infection and cancer. According to their perspective, the bacteria present in your mouth can travel to various parts of the body through blood, which can cause diseases like cancer. Additionally, some studies have also stated that oral pathogens can destroy the gum tissues while causing inflammation, which can lead to Cancer. 

Promote Heart Diseases

Other than cancer, gum infection can also promote heart-related issues, which can cause strokes too. The pathogens tend to travel through your blood vessels, which may block the passage and cause heart disease. Additionally, periodontal disease can also affect your blood pressure and disrupt the effect of hypertension medication, which may cause death.

May Cause A Stroke-Like Condition

Similar to heart disease, gum infections like gingivitis can also promote stroke. The inflammation due to gum disease can block the large arteries, resulting in the dysfunction of the brain. This condition may cause a stroke, which may lead to death as well.

Increase The Risk Of Fatal Infection

Sometimes, gum disease can also accelerate the systemic infection if you leave it untreated. This infection can further spread to various sites of your body, which can lead to inflammation. This type of condition can also lead to death once it becomes chronic.

May Promote Lung Disease

Gum infection may also promote the risk of lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The researchers have found that oral disorders can influence the course of respiratory infection due to the presence of periodontopathic bacteria. It is possible because these pathogens may overreact with the inflammatory process, which can lead to the destruction of connective tissues in the lungs.

Bacteria In Gums Can Elevate The Risk Of Alzheimer’s

Some studies have found that species of bacteria, such as porphyromonas gingivalis can travel from the mouth to the brain. These oral pathogens can potentially destroy the brain cells by releasing enzymes called gingipans. As a result, an individual starts losing their memories, leading to conditions like Alzheimer’s, which is a life-threatening situation.

What Are The Precautionary Steps To Prevent Gum Disease?

Till now, you might have understood how dangerous it could be to leave your gum problems untreated. Therefore, it is essential to consult a dentist if you have chronic inflammation in your gums. But most importantly, you must adopt a healthy oral practice to avoid periodontal disease, which you can do in a very simple way.

  • Practice brushing twice a day with fluoride-content toothpaste.
  • Avoid brushing harder to prevent injury to the gums, which will ultimately stop the bacterial infection.
  • Use floss between your teeth daily to avoid the accumulation of bacteria.
  • Rinse your mouth properly after having your meal.
  • Avoid the consumption of tobacco products, including smoking.
  • Have a regular dental checkup to avoid any dental issues and get treated as soon as possible.

By following these steps, you can decrease the accumulation of oral pathogens, which ultimately contribute to gum infection. This means no bacteria can penetrate various parts of your body, which can cause life-threatening diseases.

Final Words

Periodontal disease, or gum infection in simple words, is a common oral issue that occurs in humans. Though it is not life-threatening alone, the bacteria that are found in the mouth can travel to various parts of the body and cause diseases like cancer and heart disease. In some cases, you may also get infected with conditions like Alzheimer’s and strokes, which may lead to death.

Therefore, it is essential to maintain your oral health to avoid chronic inflammation due to gum disease. And to do so, you can follow a healthy dental practice and avoid smoking and consumption of tobacco products.

Dr. Jun Ren is a dedicated and experienced registered dietitian and nutritionist who is committed to helping people achieve their health goals through personalized nutrition plans. With a passion for promoting healthy eating habits and preventing chronic diseases, Dr. Ren has been able to assist numerous clients in improving their overall quality of life.

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