How Gum Disease Can Affect Your Overall Health

Health Risks Caused by Periodontal Disease

You’ve heard your Gilbert dentist warn you about gum disease. You know that it is an abstract threat, but you just don’t think it’s a problem that can happen to you. Yet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in a 2012 study that nearly half of U.S. adults over the age of 30 are impacted by gum disease.

Typically, gum disease is identified by your Gilbert dentist during one of your routine exams and cleanings. Yet, the signs of gum disease are noticeable long before then. Gum disease starts with the simple buildup of plaque and tartar on your teeth. Bacteria invades the gum tissue and can spread into the bone, as well.

Symptoms of gum disease can include red or inflamed gums, bleeding gums, receding gums, loose teeth, sensitive teeth, pain when chewing, and bad breath. But if you allow gum disease to continue untreated by your Gilbert dentist, it can lead to serious, life-threatening health conditions. Some potential health risks from gum disease include:

Woman with Gum Disease in Gilbert, AZ

Heart Disease

Gum disease is caused by an overabundance of bacteria, and the spread of this bacteria can lead to inflammation in other areas of the body. Chronic inflammation causes disease, including heart disease.

The American Heart Association reports that people who have poor dental hygiene are three times more likely to develop heart disease. Gum disease can also contribute to high blood pressure and can undermine the efficacy of blood pressure medications.

Getting regular Gilbert dental care can ensure that you keep gum disease at bay, as well as reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth that can contribute to inflammation.


Increased levels of bacteria in the body can also lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Over time, routinely increased blood sugar levels can contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Conversely, Type 2 diabetes can lower the body’s immune response, making it harder to fight infections and making the body more prone to develop gum disease. Both conditions can make it harder to treat the other.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Inflammation is at the heart of many of these diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks its own cells. Bacteria that is present with gum disease can trigger the inflammatory autoimmune response that can also cause the immune system to overreact and start attacking the joints, leading to rheumatoid arthritis.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Another type of bacteria present with gum disease, porphyromonas gingivalis, has been found in the brain of patients who have Alzheimer’s disease. The disease is a progressive, degenerative brain disease. Once it begins, it cannot be reversed, so doctors caution to take whatever preventive steps you can. That includes getting regular Gilbert dental care to reduce the risk of gum disease.


Chronic inflammation caused by gum disease can also contribute to respiratory illnesses, including asthma and even pneumonia. The American Thoracic Society reports that the infection that contributes to gum disease contributes to inflammation that influences the lungs and airways.

Pneumonia is treatable, but if you have other health conditions, and if your immune system is already compromised, it can prove fatal.

Gum disease can do a lot more than cause mouth pain. If left untreated, it can actually contribute to the development of serious, life-threatening health conditions. You can protect your health – and save yourself some painful and invasive medical treatments – by simply getting routine Gilbert dental care and taking care of your teeth at home. Regular dental cleanings can remove the tartar and plaque that build up and contribute to gum disease. Your Gilbert dentist can also spot the signs of gum disease early, and perform treatment that can reverse it or minimize its spread.

Contact Experienced Dentists in Gilbert, AZ

Call Gilbert Vista Dental Care with Dr. Rita A. Peck to schedule a routine dental cleaning and examination. Our team can help you set up a regular dental care plan to maximize your dental health and reduce your risk of gum disease and other dental health maladies. If you have signs of gum disease, we will help you explore treatment options to slow or reverse the symptoms. Call our Gilbert dental clinic today to schedule a consultation or examination.


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Gilbert Vista Dental Care
2451 East Baseline Road #210
Gilbert, AZ 85234

Phone: (480) 503-5467