What Happens If Gum Disease Goes Untreated?

Gum Disease is much more common than you might think and it can often be left untreated for years. For that reason, it is important to be aware of what gum disease is and how it happens.

Your mouth contains a lot of normal bacteria that are helpful or even neutral. However, sometimes that bacteria can overgrow and start causing problems. Periodontitis happens when colonies of bacteria grow enough to invade the gum tissue surrounding your teeth. This can lead to a host of issues

Causes of gum disease

Before talking about the consequences of untreated gum disease, it is important to discuss what can cause it in the first place.

Bad habits

These can include the use of tobacco products like chewing tobacco or cigarettes. e-Cigarettes have an unknown long-term effect on gum health, as they have not been around long enough for us to know.


Certain diseases, like diabetes, can have a major impact on the health of your gums. A diabetic is usually more prone to infection because they have higher levels of sugar in their blood, which acts as a source of food for bacteria. Other diseases that have an impact on gum health include HIV and some cancers, because of their effects on the immune system.


Family history is a good placeholder for a genetic component. This means that if you have a family member with a history of gum disease, you are more likely to experience it yourself.


Some medications, like anticholinergics, affect the flow of saliva. A dry mouth is a better place for bacteria to grow and thrive. Additionally, the anti-seizure medication phenytoin (Dilantin) and the antihypertensive nifedipine can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue. This could lead to gingivitis and gum disease.

Poor oral hygiene

This is probably the number one contributor to gum disease that you can personally change. Make sure to brush and floss twice daily and to see your dentist once or twice a year.

Early stages of gum disease

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums which signals the early stages of gum disease.

In these stages, bacteria in plaque begin to build on the teeth and this causes gingivitis and sometimes bleeding of the gums. A sure way to tell if you are experiencing this is if your gums bleed very easily every time you brush them.

Dangers of untreated gum disease

If gum disease is left untreated you may experience periodontitis. In this condition, the inner layer of gum and bone separate from each other, creating pockets that bacteria can grow in. Also, these pockets can collect debris that traps bacteria and worsen the infection.

It is very difficult for the body to mount a defense against bacteria that are living in this space.

Bacteria can also produce toxins and other products that break down the bone and connective tissue holding teeth in place. They are releasing these toxins to create themselves a place to live but at the expense of your mouth.

Request an appointment here: https://www.diamondheaddentalcare.com or call Diamond Head Dental Care at (808) 450-2101 for an appointment in our Honolulu office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Gum Disease.

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