What Happens If You Ignore Gum Disease?

what happens if you ignore gum disease

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is more than just a minor oral concern—it’s a silent and progressive ailment that, if left unattended, can have far-reaching consequences not just for your mouth, but for your overall health. Many tend to dismiss the early signs, thinking that a little bleeding while brushing or some gum sensitivity is a fleeting issue. Yet, ignoring these warnings can pave the way for more severe complications. In this post, we’ll delve deep into the repercussions of overlooking gum disease, highlighting the importance of early detection and timely intervention.

What is Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth, primarily the gums. It starts as gingivitis with redness and bleeding, and if untreated, can progress to a more severe form called periodontitis, potentially leading to tooth loss and other health complications. It’s initiated by oral bacteria and exacerbated by poor oral hygiene, diabetes, smoking and poor diets.

Consequences of Not Treating Gum Disease

If you ignore gum disease, it can progress and cause serious damage to your oral health. Gingivitis, which is reversible, rapidly develops into periodontitis when left untreated. When you fail to treat periodontitis, the oral bacteria damage and irritate the structures underneath the gum line and the body’s immune system is activated (by the oral bacteria) resulting in the destruction of the bone and structures that hold the teeth in place. 

This bone loss and the build-up of bacteria in periodontal pockets have a number of consequences which include

Tooth Loss

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. As the disease progresses, the bone that supports the teeth is destroyed and the teeth may become mobile and start to shift position. Loose teeth may eventually fall out or require extraction. This may have an effect on self-esteem, and speech. It may also prevent you from eating what you want, limiting your diet, affecting your general health as well.

Gum Recession

The alveolar bone supports the gums as well as the teeth. Without bone, there is nothing to support and give structure to the gums. As bone is lost the gums shrink back and may expose the roots causing pain and sensitivity. 

Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath (halitosis) is a common symptom of gum disease, caused by the buildup of bacteria and toxins in the mouth.


Untreated gum disease can progress to the point where an abscess forms in the gum tissue or at the root of a tooth. This can cause pain and swelling in the affected area and, if left untreated, can lead to serious health complications.

Systemic Health Problems

Over the last 20 years or so a number of scientific studies have demonstrated that gum disease is linked to other serious health conditions, including

It’s vital to act upon the first signs of gum disease to prevent serious consequences for your teeth and the rest of your body.

You Can Prevent and Treat Gum Disease

The good news is that gum disease is treatable. You can cure gingivitis and stop periodontitis from causing further destruction with daily self-care treatments in combination with professional gum health treatments. Read about how long it takes for gum disease to go away.

Beat Gum Disease Now

Daily Performed Self-Care Prevents And Treats Gum Disease

Daily performed self-care is the most important step in preventing and treating gum diseases. It involves developing and maintaining first-class oral hygiene to disrupt the bacteria. 

You can get some FREE tips on how to cure gum disease at home here. 

Professional Treatments

In addition to your daily performed self-care treatments, you may also benefit from professional gum health treatments to treat gingivitis and periodontitis. These include professional cleaning, scaling and root planing.  In some cases, advanced surgical procedures may be required to restore your gum health. 

Ignoring Gum Disease Has Serious Consequences

Ignoring gum disease can lead to serious and potentially irreversible damage to your oral and overall health. It’s important to take steps to prevent gum disease or seek treatment as early as possible if you suspect you have it.

If you’re looking for help treating gum disease at home you can find a wealth of information on our home page, or via Gum Disease: Solved which shows you how to beat gum disease at home in less than ten minutes a day.

Beat Gum Disease Now
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Written by Sharon Fyles

Periodontitis Expert & Writer

Sharon Fyles, BSc (Hons, SW), MSc, Dip,  is a Manchester-based expert dental writer specialising in periodontal diseases and their treatment.


Medically Reviewed and Verified by Dr. Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons), MFDS (RCPS Glasgow)

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