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Can Gum Disease Kill You? How Does it Affect Your Overall Health?

Did you ever feel the discomfort of swollen gums and experienced bleeding during brushing? If yes, you are not alone. Approximately 10% of the world’s population gets caught in severe gum disease. Considering the staggering data, a question triggers every mind: “Can gum disease kill you?” Yes, untreated gum disease can potentially lead to life-threatening complications.

But how? Let’s keep it this way: Your mouth is a gateway to all the body parts. When bacteria and viruses affect your gums, they get a clear pathway to move into the bloodstream and reach different organs. It results in compromised immunity and increases the chances of severe diseases.

In this article, we will discuss gum disease in detail and how it can be fatal for you in different ways. You will also learn about gum disease self-care for better consequences.

Gum Disease: A Brief Overview

Before delving deeper into how gum disease can kill you, let’s discover what it is all about.

Gum disease, clinically called periodontal disease, is a progressive condition that affects the supporting structures of the teeth, primarily the gums and underlying bone. It manifests in various stages, each signifying an escalation in severity.


  • The initial stage is marked by inflammation of the gums.
  • Common signs include redness, swelling, and bleeding during brushing or flossing.
  • Reversible with ultimate oral hygiene and professional dental care.


  • Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, characterized by deeper infection and damage.
  • Pockets form between the teeth and gums, promoting bacterial growth.
  • Progressive decline in bone support around the teeth.

Advanced Periodontitis

  • The most severe stage is where irreversible damage occurs.
  • Extensive bone loss, deepening of pockets, and increased tooth mobility.
  • Tooth loss becomes a significant risk.

Common Causes and Risk Factors

1. Poor Oral Hygiene

2. Tobacco Use

3. Genetics

4. Medical Conditions.

Oral Systematic Connection

Often viewed in isolation, the mouth is intricately connected to the body’s health. The mouth-body connection signifies that oral health is not confined to teeth and gums but is pivotal in influencing systemic well-being.

Wondering how can gum disease kill you? This is how it happens.

In periodontal disease, inflamed gums may release pro-inflammatory substances, establishing a link to cardiovascular issues. Additionally, the oral bacteria responsible for gum pathology can potentially enter the bloodstream, posing a risk for systemic complications in various body parts. Scientists have found proof connecting gum disease to severe issues like heart disease, diabetes, breathing troubles, pregnancy complications, and even arthritis. 

Potential Health Risks Caused by Gum Diseases

Can gum disease kill you? You can get the answer to this question clearly by delving into the potential health risks mentioned below:

1. Cardiovascular Complications

Can gum disease cause heart problems? Well, a simple answer is yes.

Untreated gum disease can exert a notable impact on heart health, potentially increasing the risk of heart strokes. Long-term inflammation in the gums due to periodontal disease might be a reason why plaque builds up in the arteries( a condition known as atherosclerosis). This plaque could slow down the blood flow to the heart.

Moreover, the bacteria causing gum infections can travel through the bloodstream, opening a potential pathway for infection in the heart’s valves or lining. It is referred to as infective endocarditis. Thus, the interplay of inflammation and bacterial involvement emphasizes the significance of oral health concerning cardiovascular well-being. 

2. Diabetes Occurrence

Diabetes and gum disease have a two-way relationship that affects overall health. If you have diabetes, you are more prone to gum disease because high sugar levels create an environment suitable for the growth of harmful bacteria. Similarly, if gums are not treated, it can also cause trouble for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels.

Hence, controlling and reducing inflammation in the gums can improve insulin sensitivity and better blood sugar management. It leads to a reduced risk of diabetes.

3. Breathing Issues

The health of your mouth can have a surprising impact on your respiratory well-being. So, if you have the query, “Can gum disease make you sick?” In short, Yes. Here is how:

When diseased, gums can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can be inhaled into the lungs. This aggravates existing respiratory issues and contributes to the development of new ones. Recent studies by NIH suggest that untreated gum disease can increase the risk of pneumonia

So, it’s imperative to emphasize proactive oral care to prevent respiratory complications.

4. Pregnancy Complications

Can gum disease kill you? Well, if you are conceiving while experiencing gum diseases, the fatality rate is relatively high.

Gum disease during pregnancy can pose significant risks to both the expectant mother and the developing baby. Research reveals a potential link between gum disease and gestational diabetes. The signs of inflammation linked to gum disease might make it harder for the body to control sugar levels in pregnancy. It could be risky for both the mom and the baby.

Untreated gum disease has also been a contributor to preterm birth and low birth weight. The inflammatory response of gum disease may contribute to releasing substances that could induce premature labor. Additionally, systemic inflammation may interfere with the developing baby’s growth, leading to lower birth weight.

Can Gum Disease Cause Cancer?

The chronic inflammatory state associated with gum disease may contribute to systemic inflammation over time. It can potentially affect the body’s capability to manage or impede the proliferation of cancer cells. Research monitoring individuals for 22 to 28 years indicates that a previous occurrence of gum disease is linked to a 52% elevated risk of stomach cancer and a 43% increased risk of throat cancer.

So, for those asking, “Can gum disease kill you?” Its correlation with cancer itself is proof.

How to Prevent the Effects of Gum Disease?

Here’s how you can prevent it;

  1. Schedule routine visits to your dentist for professional cleanings and thorough examinations.
  2. Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and floss daily. It removes plaque and prevents its hardening into tartar.
  3. Drink plenty of water as it assists in flushing away bacteria and debris from your mouth.
  4. Limit sugary drinks and foods that fuel the growth of bacteria.
  5. Incorporate antiseptic mouthwash into your oral care routine.


Hence, periodontal diseases can be a big turn-off not just in terms of an imperfect smile but also affecting your overall health. In the guide mentioned above, we have explained everything to those who ask, “Can gum disease kill you?”. However, with proper oral care and healthy life habits, you can ditch the causes of gum disease. Additionally, regular check-ups can help detect early signs of gum disease and address them before they progress.

If you are looking for experienced dental care professionals to discuss your dental limitations, Blairstown Smile Studio is your best companion. We have state-of-the-art tools and use advanced techniques to treat dental problems. Plus, the inviting environment and gentle staff never stay back to give you the perfect dental treat on every visit.

So why wait? Contact now to get the services of the most reliable dental services in Blairstown, NJ.