How Long Can You Keep Your Teeth With Periodontal Disease?

Close-up of Alex Rodriguez
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Alex Rodriguez participates in a panel discussion during the WSJ Future of Everything Festival on May 8, 2018 in New York City.

Although we may not take oral health as seriously as other aspects of our physical health, taking care of our teeth through proper brushing and flossing is crucial. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to the development of periodontal disease, which can lead to serious dental problems.

How long can teeth with periodontal disease last? Can this disease really be prevented through vigilant brushing and oral care?

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Learn more about periodontal disease, inspired by MLB player Alex Rodriguez's diagnosis— green issues Speak with Dr. Rhonda Kalasho, DMD and CEO of TruGlo Modern Dental.

Black man touching his chin in pain and holding a glass of ice water
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What is periodontal disease?

As Dr. Kalasho explains green issues“Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation that affects the gums, ligaments and bones around the teeth.” She pointed out that if left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that periodontal disease is caused by infection and inflammation of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis, a term most of us have heard, is the early stage of periodontal disease that includes swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums.

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These are the warning signs and causes of periodontal disease.

To be aware of periodontal disease, you can learn the warning signs. The CDC lists the following symptoms: bad breath or persistent odor, red/swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, and pain when chewing. You may also experience tooth sensitivity or looseness and notice that your gums are pulling away from your teeth.

Changes in the fit of teeth when biting together or in the fit of partial dentures may also indicate periodontal disease.

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The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) states that poor brushing and flossing habits are often the cause of periodontal disease. Failure to follow proper oral care recommendations can result in plaque (a sticky film of bacteria) covering your teeth.

According to the CDC and NIDCR, other risk factors for periodontal disease include:

  • smokes
  • Hormonal changes in girls and women due to oral contraceptive pills or pregnancy
  • genetics
  • Illnesses, including diabetes or AIDS (and related medications)
  • pressure
  • Crooked teeth
  • Defective fillings.

Former MLB Yankees player Alex Rodriguez brought gum disease into the public eye in May 2023 when he announced that he had it. cbs news reported. He urged people to visit a dentist and follow dental care guidelines.

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Will teeth fall out if I have periodontal disease?

One of the first concerns of people diagnosed with periodontal disease is whether they will lose their teeth.

“The length of time someone with periodontal disease retains their teeth varies and depends on a variety of factors,” dentist Dr. Rhonda Calashaw tells us green issues in email. “While providing an accurate time frame is challenging, aggressive oral care and regular dental visits can significantly impact the longevity of teeth despite this condition.”

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NIDCR also says that the worst-case scenario is that the tooth becomes loose or needs to be removed. Even if it doesn't reach this level, periodontal disease can spread to the bone around the gums if left untreated. In this case, chewing food becomes painful.

According to Bristle Health, not everyone with periodontal disease loses teeth. A 2003 study showed that 61 of 156 periodontal disease patients did not lose any teeth in 12 years. It's hard to say how long the average patient will keep their teeth because it depends on oral care after diagnosis and other risk factors, but you don't have to lose your teeth if you have this disease!

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How is periodontal disease treated?

“It is recommended that periodontal disease not go untreated for long periods of time, as gum disease can become more severe over time,” says Dr. Calasso.

Dr. Calasso said conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and immune disorders can affect the body's ability to fight infections, including periodontal disease. “Managing these conditions and maintaining overall health can play a role in tooth preservation,” she explains.

Dr. Calasso notes that even after periodontal disease is diagnosed, it's crucial to maintain oral care at home and visit the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. She also recommends using a toothpaste that contains fluoride and has antibacterial and tartar control properties.

According to the CDC, in some cases, patients may need treatment through deep root cleaning below the gums, medications, or corrective surgery.

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