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Dangers of Untreated Gum Disease: Diabetes and Heart Conditions

Of all the threats to our oral health, gum disease might be the single most common. Present in almost half of all US adults over age 30, gum disease is a condition that appears in various forms -- some cases will have little to no noticeable symptoms, while others will have relatively severe pain and discomfort.

At Trimble Dental, we're proud to offer a number of quality general dentist services, including numerous solutions that help prevent the risks of gum disease from forming in any of our patients. However, if you're ignorant to the signs of gum disease and allow it to go untreated, there are several major risks you face. This two-part blog series will run through a basic primer on how gum disease forms, why it's a risk and why you should never let it go untreated if it's discovered.

dangers untreated gum disease diabetes

Gum Disease Development and Common Signs

Gum disease is triggered by two terms many dental patients are well aware of: Plaque and tartar buildup The plaque is a solid, colorless film -- with sticky properties -- that forms on teeth and gums, causing them to become inflamed and irritated. This, in turn, prompts the body to produce more tartar as a direct response to protect itself from further irritation.

As plaque builds up on teeth and along your gum line, it will begin to eat away at the gum tissue. Left untreated, this can eventually lead to bone loss and tooth decay. There are also other secondary risks of gum disease, including things like smoking, poor oral care, diabetes, gum injuries and even certain medical conditions in the body.

Here are some common signs of gum disease:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, inflated or actively bleeding gums
  • Pain while chewing
  • Sensitive or loose teeth
  • Pus around the teeth and gums

Gum disease will typically begin as gingivitis, which is a limited form of irritation that causes bleeding during brushing. However, if the condition goes undetected and untreated, it quickly escalates into periodontitis -- an advanced form of gum disease that can lead to bone loss and tissue deterioration. Here are some of the other major health risks of leaving gum disease untreated.


Because bacteria from gum disease can break down sugar in the blood stream, it can increase risks of developing diabetes by over 50%.

Cardiovascular Disease

Gum disease is often associated with other conditions that have been linked to cardiovascular issues, including stroke. While there are no conclusive studies yet, researchers believe there may be a connection between periodontitis and heart problems. We also know that poor oral care can increase your risk of developing gingivitis, which can lead to cardiovascular disease as a secondary health risk.

We'll go over these risks further in part two of our series. For more on gum disease and why it should not be left untreated, or to learn about any of our other services, from implant dentistry to teeth whitening, speak to the pros at Trimble Dental today.

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