There are both dental and medical consequences to periodontal disease. This section covers these topics briefly. To skip to the medical consequences section, click here.

The Dental Consequences of Periodontal Disease

75% of all adult tooth loss is due to periodontal disease. When your gums and bone are damaged by periodontal infection there is less support for your teeth. As this support disappears, your teeth first become loose and then can be lost. When your dentist or periodontist recommends periodontal treatment, it is important to get started right away.

Natural Teeth Must Be Replaced

If the infection continues, you can start to lose your teeth, one at a time. These lost teeth will have to be replaced with dental work, such as:

  • Bridges
  • Dental implants
  • Partial dentures
  • Full dentures

If tooth loss continues, it can lead to dentures. Many patients don't understand the full consequences of wearing dentures. There can be many problems with dentures including:

  • Inability to eat certain foods
  • Lowered ability to feel and taste foods
  • Lisping or clacking when speaking
  • Bad breath or smell
  • Pain or discomfort
  • The look of dentures
  • Self-consciousness and embarrassment
  • Looking old
  • Having to remove and soak them at night
  • Your spouse seeing you without teeth at night
Medical Consequences of Periodontal Disease

"People think of gum disease in terms of their teeth, but they don't think about the fact that gum disease is a serious infection that can release bacteria into the bloodstream" - Dr. Robert Genco, editor Journal of Periodontology

Periodontal disease is caused by infectious bacteria which get into the gums around your teeth. These bacteria are then released into the blood stream and can affect other parts of your body. Periodontal disease has recently been linked with a number of other medical problems.

It is important to have periodontal disease treated before this bacteria can build up within your bloodstream and increase your risk of medical problems. To date, periodontal disease has been correlated with the following medical conditions:

Heart Disease & Heart Attack
Recent studies have shown that people with periodontal disease are 2.7 times more likely to suffer a heart attack.

Studies have also shown that people with periodontal disease are 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.

Pre-Term Childbirth
Women with periodontal disease are 7-8 times more likely to give birth prematurely to a low birth-weight baby.

Periodontal infection can raise blood sugar in diabetic patients. Periodontal treatment often results in a reduced need for insulin.

Respiratory Disease
Periodontal infection in the mouth can be breathed in and increase the severity of such respiratory diseases as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema.

Your Bacteria Can Be Transmitted
Research using DNA testing has found that periodontal bacteria can be transmitted from parent to child and spouse to spouse.

Periodontal Infection is a Medical Problem
Periodontal disease is no longer thought to be just a dental problem. Researchers are finding many correlations between periodontal infection and serious medical problems.

Some Patients are at Higher Risk
These correlations are particularly serious for those patients who are in a higher risk category such as:

Those having a personal or family history of:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Premature childbirth
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases

Those having higher risk lifestyles, including:

  • Chronic stress
  • Smoker
  • Sedentary and overweight
  • Frequent colds, flu, etc.

Higher Risk Patients
If you have been told you have a periodontal infection, or some of its symptoms, it is vital that you seek evaluation and treatment.