Gum disease, also known as Periodontitis, is a severe gum infection that causes damage to the gum and jawbone.
Common symptoms include loose teeth, tender/swollen gum, receding gum/gum line, bleeding gum, and bad breath.
The following are some of the causes of gum disease:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Certain medication
Though anyone is prone to the disease, statistics show that:
- 47.2% of people above 30 years have some type of gum disease
- Gum disease increases with age and 70.1% of people above the age of 65 have gum disease.
Unfortunately, despite the fame and fortune, not even celebrities can escape the snare of gum disease.
Here is a quick list of famous people with gum disease.
(Though some may have undergone treatment successfully, their experiences with gum disease are something we all can learn from).
1. Whoopi Goldberg
Born Caryn Elaine Johnson, Goldberg is an American award-winning actor, author, comedian, and TV personality.
She began acting in 1982, and among many of her works, was cast as Guiyan in the science fictional TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Her most famous movie was Ghost (1990) where she was cast as Oda Mae Brown.
On her show, The View, Goldberg shared her experience with gum disease.
She was only 35 years old when she had an emergency gum surgery.
Time and time again, Goldberg has publicly shared the link between overall well-being and oral health, stating that her jawbone is completely eroded from the disease.
2. Alex Rodriguez
Rodriguez is a businessman, philanthropist, and former baseball shortstop.
He is the chairman and CEO of A-Rod Corp and chairman of Presidente beer.
The 48-year-old made his first MLB debut in 1994, playing 22 seasons till his last appearance in 2016.
He began his media career in 2017, making appearances on reality shows, advertisements, and TV series.
He is the ex-fiancé of Jennifer Lopez.
In May 2023, Rodriguez shared that he had been diagnosed with early-stage gum disease.
Despite having a great smile and good oral hygiene, Rodriguez spoke of the misconception people have, that the disease can only be caused by chewing tobacco and other harmful habits.
That was not the case for him and therefore urged people to have regular check-ins with dentists to catch it early enough.
3. Steve Buscemi
Buscemi is an American actor, director, and producer known for playing interesting characters in support roles.
He began his acting career in 1983. Before joining the acting industry, Buscemi was a firefighter, and briefly returned to that career during the 9/11 incident, where he worked on 12-hour shifts at the World Trade Center, looking for survivors in the rubble.
Despite his misaligned teeth, Buscemi has a great smile.
Unlike most celebrities, he refused to have his teeth fixed, citing that he had told his dentists that if they fixed them, he ‘won’t work again.’
As seen when he smiles, Buscemi has gum recession, which has resulted in a supra-erupted canine and an exposed tooth root.
4. David Ramsey
Ramsey is a 51-year-old American actor who began his acting career in 1987.
You may remember him for his early role as Vince Lee, ‘The Prince’ of Kuvukiland in the 2001 film Mr. Bones.
He is also a main character in the CW superhero show Arrow as John Diggle (Spartan), and its sister series The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow.
Ramsey’s dentist made him aware of early signs of gum disease he was experiencing while in college, such as bleeding gum.
Despite brushing his teeth regularly and having no cavities, Ramsey insists that flossing plays a key part in preventing gum disease, a habit he picked up on since his prognosis.
5. Clark Gable
Born February 1, 1901, Gable was an American actor who was featured in over 60 motion picture films.
His 37-year career earned him the title ‘The King of Hollywood.’
Gable developed a severe gum infection in 1933 that led to hospitalization.
The infection was so severe that it had reached his gall bladder, hence he had to take a break from filming to prioritize his health.
Since the condition was at an advanced stage, he lost all his teeth and had to get dentures.
However, bad breath caused by periodontitis persisted despite replacing his teeth.
6. Samantha Womack
Womack is an English actress, director, model, and singer.
The 50-year-old began her career in 1989 at the age of 17.
She is known for playing the main role of Mandy Wilkins in the 1995 TV series Game On.
She has also made theatre appearances in her career.
Womack battled with periodontitis secretly for 15 years.
However, after an infection led her to the insight that she might lose all of her teeth, Womack got a four-hour procedure called Bone One Session Treatment (BOST).
The procedure involves deep cleaning underneath the gum by stretching it away from the teeth.
7. Johnny Depp
Depp is an American award-winning actor, film producer, and musician.
He achieved his greatest success when he was cast as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.
He also gained popularity in the recent divorce proceedings with his ex-wife, Amber Heard.
Abused as a child, Depp resorted to substance abuse to cope with his trauma.
The use of substances turned into an addiction that eventually ruined his teeth.
Aside from cavities, Depp has receding gum, which is a form of gum disease.
Recession leaves the gum prone to infections which eventually damage the bone structure of the jaw.
8. Justin Timberlake
Timberlake is an American actor, record producer, and singer-songwriter.
He is a former member of the famous boyband NSYNC, formed in 1995.
His successful music career has led him to tour the world and perform at concerts.
Timberlake has been one of the biggest advocates of flossing, having had an experience with gum disease.
Despite his busy schedule, he takes his time to educate fans on dental hygiene.
9. Zoe Williams
Williams is a 50-year-old British author, columnist, and journalist.
She shares her battle with gum disease of over 22 years, despite getting early warnings from her dentist at the age of 25.
Her biggest regret is neglecting her dentist’s advice before undergoing the pain and shame that results from gum disease.
You may also want to check: Fiancé Gums: Origin, Stereotypes & Medical Explanation
Oral health is one of the things people neglect, which includes celebrities.
Regardless of how long it took for the above-mentioned celebrities to discover that they had periodontitis, they have done all they can to manage the disease, like flossing, getting dentures, and deep cleaning procedures.
Despite the effect sharing their experiences has had on their career and public image, we appreciate these celebrities for giving hope to everyone living with this incurable disease.