Complications and health risks of gum disease

As you might already have gathered it's always better to see your dentist or GP as early as possible in order to stop any dental problems from escalating. So, if you have any concerns that you may have the symptoms of gum disease, go and see your dentist at the earliest opportunity.

We will now look at some of the complications and health risks which are associated with gum disease. Read on to find out more.


If the patient doesn't have the gum disease-causing plaque or tartar removed then the condition is likely to get worse and can lead to periodontitis.

Further from this, the following complications are likely to arise - recurrent gum abscesses and damage to the tissue connecting the teeth to the socket, as well as the bone in the jaw connecting the tooth to the socket.

Beyond this, the implications of not getting gum disease treated are even more serious. Problems can include the following - receding gums, loose teeth and the loss of teeth.

Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis

We're afraid that the problems of not getting gum disease treated do not stop there. Let's look at the complications of Acute Necrotising Ulcerative Gingivitis, known as ANUG.

This infection can spread to all areas of the gums, as well as the alveolar bone - which connects the sockets of the teeth.

Some of the associated problems include:

  • Bad breath.
  • Bleeding gums.
  • Gums being completely destroyed.
  • Large ulcers, which leave permanent holes in the gums.
  • Loose and unstable teeth.


If ANUG is not treated it can lead to gangrene arising, which is a serious condition. It occurs when tissue starts to die and waste away.

When it arises from ANUG, it is referred to as noma and affects the lips and cheeks. Noma normally only affects people that have a weak immune system or who are malnourished.

Pregnancy and gum disease

It is now well known that pregnant women are more susceptible to the development of gum disease. This is due to hormonal changes during the time a mother carries their child, when levels of progesterone and oestrogen are increased. If a pregnant mother leaves the condition untreated it can have serious side-effects on the child. These include:

  • Greater chance of stillbirth
  • Premature birth, which can lead to further health conditions
  • Bacteria associated with gum disease can also transfer to the foetus

A pregnant woman must be vigilant with their oral hygiene, and of any symptoms of gum disease, to ensure the health of their unborn child.

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