Obviously losing teeth can be pretty dramatic, but gum disease has other complications that can make it deadly. A recent study published in the American Association for Cancer Research found a link between gum disease and esophageal cancer. Analyzing bacteria that were present in the mouth, researchers linked advanced periodontal disease with a higher rate of esophageal cancer, which is highly fatal.
That, of course, is only the beginning. Dozens of other studies have linked advanced gum disease with a higher rate of stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and other forms of cancer. Some believe this is caused by the effect low-grade infection has on the body after a long period of time. Not only does this infection cause inflammation, but it can also cross into the bloodstream and begin infecting other areas of the body.