Despite Having One of the Best Smiles in Sports, A-Rod Shares He Has Gum Disease


Family Health


By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder


Former professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez, also known as A-Rod, is usually in the news for his love life. He was with Jennifer Lopez, one of the world’s sexiest women. Recently, however, Rodriguez made news for something that is not so sexy - gum disease.

"Looks can be deceiving," Rodriguez said, according to one report from CBS News.

"I just recently went to see my dentist and not thinking anything about any gum disease. And the dentist tells me the news, and then I come to find out over 65 million Americans have this gum disease.”

I applaud him for being so candid about this. It just goes to show you that having a nice smile and a lot of money does not make one immune to such issues. We must all be proactive about gum disease even if our teeth are white and we are not experiencing any discomfort.

Many people have inflamed gums every now and then. A gum inflammation (gingivitis) usually doesn’t cause any major problems at first. But it may spread to other parts of the periodontium (the soft tissue and bone responsible for keeping our teeth firmly anchored) and cause damage there. The medical term for inflammation of the periodontium is periodontitis. Over time, periodontitis can cause teeth to loosen,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Fortunately for Rodriguez, his gum disease is in the early stages. So he has the opportunity to correct this before it leads to major dental issues.

Gum Disease is more common in men.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, research has shown that rates of periodontal disease are higher in men (56.4 percent) compared to women (38.4 percent).  

“Men disproportionately develop periodontal diseases due to a combination of biological and gender related reasons including immune system factors, hormone differences, poorer oral hygiene behaviors, and greater tobacco use,” according to a review from the American Journal of Men’s Health, published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Overall, research has also revealed that men do not visit the dentist as frequently as women do. 

Because many baseball players chew tobacco, some speculated that this was the cause of Alex Rodriguez’s gum disease. In this report, he said he didn’t enjoy chewing tobacco after trying it once and getting sick. He did reveal that during his baseball game days he would chew 36 (sometimes even more) pieces of gum. So this made me wonder - could chewing gum, especially excessively as Rodriguez did, contribute to the development of gum disease?

Well, it depends.

Chewing gum stimulates saliva production, and saliva can actually help combat bacteria and plaque buildup on teeth that can lead to gum disease and other dental issues. 

Furthermore, “Increased saliva flow carries with it calcium and phosphate ions, which can contribute to remineralization of tooth enamel; the presence of fluoride in the saliva can serve to replace enamel components magnesium and carbonate with the stronger, more caries-resistant fluorapatite crystals,” according to the American Dental Association.

The key is chewing gum that is free of sugar. If you are chewing sugary gums, this, of course, can wreak havoc on the teeth and gums. There is a microbiome in the mouth just as there is one in the gut. Sugar just feeds the bad bacteria in the mouth - bacteria that may promote gingivitis and even bad breath. Sugar isn’t always as sweet as it may appear to be. I am not sure if Rodriguez was chewing gum with sugar, but if he was this may certainly be a contributing factor to his early stage gum disease.

Gum disease can affect other parts of the body.

Oral hygiene and health is extremely important. Advanced gum disease has been associated with other serious health issues such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. Check out Nutritional Solutions to Help Fight Gum Disease to learn more about this and how you can be proactive.

If you are a man and this is still not incentive enough to really take care of those gums, then maybe the risk of erectile dysfunction will!

“Previous studies have linked erectile dysfunction (ED) with periodontitis (inflammation of the gums), and now, a new study of patients in Turkey shows that treating periodontitis in affected patients appears to lessen the symptoms of erectile dysfunction after three months,” according to a report from Live Science.

That is certainly motivation to floss regularly and stay on top of those regular teeth cleanings and exams. For more pertinent information on gum disease and oral health, check out these pH Labs blogs. I think you will find our recent blog on different types of mouthwashes very informative and helpful.

The pH health care team is all about happy and healthy longevity. A healthy mouth is definitely a major factor in attaining this.


Enjoy your healthy life!


Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.                             


The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses, and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products, and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.


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