Gum disease or periodontitis is a serious gum infection that attacks your gums and eventually your bone—teeth, and jawbone. Gum disease is broken up into four stages; gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. You may notice gingivitis due to inflamed, red gums that bleed when you brush them. If left untreated, gingivitis advances and leads to tooth and jawbone loss.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. Bacteria from breathing, eating, and talking all day long. This bacteria builds up in our mouths throughout the day and creates a sticky buildup called plaque. Plaque is easily manageable with teeth brushing and flossing, but when your teeth continually go uncared for, the plaque hardens and turns into tartar which can only be removed with a professional cleaning. These sticky and hardened bacteria get into pockets in your soft tissue (gums) and cause your gums to start receding. Eventually, your tooth’s root will be exposed, it will decay, and fall out. With missing teeth, your jawbone doesn’t get the stimulation it needs to stay full and healthy; it too will degrade. This is an advanced form of periodontitis.

seniors enjoying the beautiful outdoors while sharing a laugh

The Unintended Consequences Of Poor Oral Hygiene

Tooth loss due to gum disease is degrading, unhealthy, and unattractive. But there are other, more deadly, consequences of gum disease. Recent studies show that gum disease has a strong link to heart disease. In an ongoing study in Sweeden, it was found that it was much more common for first-time heart attack patients to have gum disease than a group of healthy people. The risk of a cardiac event rose in severity as gum disease progressed.

A follow-up study investigated the relationship between gum disease and heart attacks (a form of heart disease). The study followed 1,600 patients with an average age of 62 for four years. During dental exams, it was found that 985 had good oral health, 489 had moderate periodontitis, and 113 had advanced periodontal disease. After six years, the study showed that people with gum disease were 49% more likely to die of any cause, have a non-fatal heart attack or stroke, or develop heart failure.


Researchers believe that when bacteria damages your gums, it allows for germs to perpetrate the rest of your body through your bloodstream, accelerating destructive changes to blood vessels and harming the vessels through systematic inflammation.

Gum disease has other deadly consequences too. Research has shown that gum disease has links to several other diseases.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Increased cancer risk
  • Erectile dysfunction

What Can I Do to Avoid Gum Disease and its Deadly Consequences?

Oral health is just as important as the health of the rest of your body and as we can see, your oral health affects the rest of your body. First, watch out for the symptoms of gum disease. If you’re experiencing pain, it’s time to see your Anchorage periodontist for a checkup and nip gum disease in the bud before it progresses. Read the list of periodontitis symptoms below.

  • Red, purple, or bloody gums
  • Swollen or inflamed gums
  • Receding or thin gum lines, sometimes revealing the roots of your teeth
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Constant bad breath
  • Space between your gums and your teeth
  • Gums that feel tender to the touch or bleed easily
  • Pain while eating or chewing

If you have gum disease Anchorage Dentist Richard Crosby can help – painlessly and with amazing convivence.

  1. Make an appointment for a cleaning and gum disease examination.
  2. We will scan your teeth to produce a 3-D image.
  3. We will create your custom molded Perio Protect trays.
  4. Wear your Perio Protect trays for 15 minutes per day and kick gum disease to the curb.

How Can I Prevent Gum Disease?

Gum disease prevention is the best protection. Prevent periodontitis by engaging in good oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth twice per day to get rid of unwanted bacteria and plaque—and be sure to floss. If flossing is difficult for you due to orthodontics or you find it cumbersome, explore other flossing options like a water flosser or dental pick. Lastly, see your Anchorage dentist regularly. Make sure that you are scheduling cleanings twice per year.

Do You Have Gum Disease?

Do you have gum disease in Anchorage, Alaska? If you suspect you may have gum disease, don’t wait. Waiting on treatment will lead to the progression of the disease, costing you more pain, time, and money. Make an appointment at the office of Dr. Richard Crosby by calling (907) 277-1098 or making an appointment online. Looking to prevent gum disease altogether? Schedule your regular dental appointments and receive top-notch care at Dr. Richard Crosby General and Cosmetic Dentistry in Anchorage.