The Dangers of Untreated Gum Disease

Here at our Pacific Heights practice, Dr. Hyun S. Bang and our team partner with our San Francisco patients to help them main

Gum disease starts out innocently enough — your gums become inflamed, and they may bleed a little. Left unchecked, however, the bacteria can run rampant, causing extensive damage to your dental health, and possibly even your mental health.

Here at our Pacific Heights practice, Dr. Hyun S. Bang and our team partner with our San Francisco patients to help them maintain great teeth that serve them well, long into the future. As part of this effort, we pay close attention to developing gum disease, which can lead to very serious, irreversible damage if we don’t intervene. And the good news is that the earlier we spot the problem, the easier your treatments are.

Here’s a look at the dangers of gum disease and how we can prevent them.

The progression of gum disease

Gum disease typically starts out as gingivitis, which is a condition in which your gums become inflamed as bacteria make their way in. Gingivitis develops when bacteria-harboring plaque builds up on your teeth near your gum line.

This plaque, if not removed, can turn into tartar, which is harder to simply brush away and creates a barrier between your cleaning efforts and those harmful bacteria.

As the bacteria make their way under your gum line, gingivitis can cross over into periodontitis. This happens when pockets form under your gums that allow more bacteria to get in and wreak havoc. 

Eventually, your gums begin to pull away from your teeth, and your teeth loosen. Ultimately, these teeth can succumb to the decay and require removal.

Further still, if the bacterial infection continues, it can lead to bone loss in your jaw, threatening the stability of all of your teeth.

The brain connection

If the loss of your dental structure isn’t enough to concern you, a recent study discovered a link between gum disease and dementia, namely Alzheimer’s disease. While the study is one of the first to verify the long-suspected link, there’s still much to be unearthed in this connection. 

Essentially, what this study found was the presence of Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of deceased Alzheimer’s patients. These bacteria are largely responsible for gum disease, and their prevalence in the study’s Alzheimer’s patients was noteworthy.

Taking charge of gum disease

While the above complications aren’t meant to scare you unnecessarily, it should serve to underscore the importance of early treatment when it comes to gum disease. In its earliest stages, gingivitis, all it takes is a professional cleaning at our office to clear up the condition.

Even if your gum disease has progressed to periodontitis, we can still reverse the problem through a deep cleaning and/or a scaling and root planing procedure. 

Along with the right medications and these treatments, we can restore the health of your teeth and gums in short order, before irrevocable damage occurs.

For early detection and treatment of gum disease, simply give us a call at (415) 213-2599 or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.

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