Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition affecting the gums and surrounding tissues of the teeth. It starts with bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms on your teeth. If the plaque isn’t properly removed through brushing and flossing, it can harden into tartar and lead to inflammation and bleeding of the gums, a condition known as gingivitis.

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis, where the gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. This can lead to the breakdown of the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place, ultimately resulting in tooth loss.

Factors such as poor oral hygiene, smoking, genetic susceptibility, certain illnesses like diabetes, and even medications, can increase the risk of developing gum disease. So, regular dental check-ups and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine are essential for prevention and early detection.

Gum disease

Causes of Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is usually caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth and gums.

1. Plaque Buildup: Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. If not removed by regular brushing and flossing, the bacteria can irritify your gums causing inflammation and possible bleeding.

2. Poor Oral Hygiene: Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gum disease. Lack of regular brushing and flossing can lead to plaque build-up and tartar formation, which can infect the gums.

3. Tobacco Use: Smoking or using chewing tobacco can also increase your chances of getting gum disease as they weaken your immune system and make it harder for your body to heal tissues, including your gums.

4. Genetics: Some people may be genetically prone to getting gum disease more than others.

5. Certain Medication: Some medicines can affect the oral health including oral contraceptives, steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, and some calcium channel blockers.

6. Nutritional Deficiencies: Poor nutrition, including vitamin C deficiency, can also impair gum health.

7. Hormonal Changes: Changes in hormones during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, menstruation can make gums more sensitive, encouraging the onset of gum disease.

8. Misaligned or Crowded Teeth, Braces or Bridgework: Sometimes, it is hard to maintain oral hygiene due to hard-to-clean areas resulting in plaque and tartar build-up.

9. Underlying Health Conditions: Certain diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV infection can increase the risk of gum disease.

Remember, regularly scheduled dental cleanings and exams can help prevent gum disease or catch it early before it turns into a major issue.

Risk Factors of Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition that affects the tissues supporting the teeth. Several risk factors can increase the susceptibility to gum disease. Here they are:

1. Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequately brushing and flossing can cause plaque to build up, leading to gum disease.

2. Smoking or Tobacco Use: Smoking is significantly associated with the onset of gum disease. Smoking can also lower the chance for successful treatment.

3. Genetic Susceptibility: Some people are more genetically predisposed to gum disease than others.

4. Pregnancy and Menopause: Changes in hormones during pregnancy can affect the gums and make them more sensitive, thus more susceptible to gum disease. Similarly, hormonal fluctuations during menopause can also lead to symptoms of gum disease.

5. Age: Risk of gum disease increases with age. It is most common in individuals over 30.

6. Poor Nutrition: A poor diet lacking in vitamin C or calcium can increase the risk of gum disease.

7. Stress: Stress may make it difficult for your body’s immune system to fight off infection.

8. Certain Medications: Some medications can impact oral health because they can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums.

9. Chronic Illnesses: Diseases like diabetes affect the body’s immune system and can increase the likelihood of infections such as gum disease.

10. Grinding or Clenching Your Teeth: These habits can put excessive force on the supporting tissues of the teeth and could speed up the rate at which these tissues are destroyed.

Remember that prevention is key, primarily through good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits. Regular check-ups are important because they can help detect gum disease at an early stage when it’s still reversible.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque to build up on the teeth and harden. Here are some signs and symptoms of gum disease:

1. Swollen or Puffy Gums: This is one of the first signs that your gums are infected.

2. Redness or Dusky Red: Healthy gums have a pink color, so if your gums are persistently red, it might be a sign of gum disease.

3. Tender or bleeding gums: While it might be normal for gums to bleed slightly when you brush or floss, persistent bleeding or tenderness is a sign of gum disease.

4. Bad breath: This is due to the bacteria that accompany the gum disease.

5. Painful Chewing: If eating has become painful, it could be a sign that you have gum disease.

6. Sensitive Teeth: This might mean that your gums are receding, exposing more of your teeth and roots, and thus creating sensitivity.

7. Loose Teeth: As gum disease progresses and affects the bone supporting the teeth, the teeth may feel loose.

8. Receding Gums: If your teeth appear longer than normal, you may be experiencing gum recession, which is a common sign of gum disease.

9. Changes in the way your teeth fit together while you bite.

It’s crucial to see a dentist if you have any of these symptoms, as gum disease can lead to much more serious issues, including tooth loss, if left untreated. Furthermore, there’s growing evidence of an association between gum inflammation and conditions like heart disease and stroke.

Diagnosis Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected. It is typically caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in your mouth.

There are two main forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.

1. Gingivitis: This is the milder and initial form of gum disease in which the gums become red, swollen and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is often caused due to poor oral hygiene. Fortunately, this condition is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.

2. Periodontitis: If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form. It affects the tissues that support the teeth and hold them in place. If periodontitis is not treated, the bone in your jaw may be damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth.

Symptoms of gum disease may include bad breath, red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, painful chewing, loose teeth, sensitive teeth, receding gums or tooth loss. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to visit a dentist or periodontist promptly.

Risk factors for gum disease include smoking, diabetes, hormonal changes in girls/women, certain medications, genetic susceptibility, and certain infections.

Treatment generally involves good oral care habits and regular dental visits. In severe cases, more intense treatments such as deep cleaning, medications, or even surgical interventions might be necessary.

Prevention of gum disease comes down to good oral health habits, including brushing twice a day, flossing, and getting regular dental checkups. Quitting smoking also can improve your oral health.

Treatment of Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a condition caused by the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth. Here are steps to treat this condition:

1. Deep Cleaning: The first step in treating gum disease usually involves a procedure known as scaling and root planning. This treatment is essentially a deep cleaning below the gum line to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your gums and tooth root surfaces.

2. Prescription Medications: Depending on the severity of gum disease, the dentist may prescribe oral or topical antibiotics to control bacterial infection. Antibacterial mouthwashes and gels could also be provided.

3. Surgery: For advanced stages of gum disease, surgery may be needed. There are two common types:
Flap Surgery: The gums are lifted back and tartar is removed. In some cases, irregular surfaces of the damaged bone are smoothed, limiting areas where disease-causing bacteria can hide. The gums are then placed so that the tissue fits snugly around the tooth again.
Bone and Tissue Grafts: This procedure aims to regenerate any bone or gum tissue lost to periodontitis.

4. Maintenance: Post-treatment, regular checkups and cleanings at the dentist are vital to ensure the disease is kept under control. At home, maintain good oral hygiene by regular brushing, flossing and using an antiseptic mouthwash.

Remember, the best way to deal with gum disease is to prevent it from occurring in the first place with good oral hygiene practices. If gum disease is already present, early intervention is the key, so make sure to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

Please consult with a professional healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and treatment as this information is just a guideline and not a definitive treatment plan.

Medications commonly used for Gum disease

Managing gum disease involves both dental procedures and medications. Here are some commonly used medications for treatment:

1. Antibacterial Mouthwashes: These contain an anti-plaque agent known as chlorhexidine that helps reduce plaque and bacteria in the mouth.

2. Topical Antibiotics: These may include antibiotic gels, microspheres, or strips that may be placed in pockets after scaling and root planing to control bacteria during the healing phase. Included are medications like Atridox, Actisite, or PerioChip.

3. Antiseptic chips (like PerioChip): These are small, thin pieces of gelatin filled with the antibiotic chlorhexidine which are placed in pockets after root planing.

4. Antibiotic tablets or capsules: Sometimes oral antibiotics may be prescribed for acute or aggressive periodontitis. Drugs used include doxycycline, metronidazole, and amoxicillin, among others.

5. Enzyme Suppressor: A medication called subantimicrobial-dose doxycycline can be used. It inhibits destructive enzymes in the mouth.

6. Pain-relievers: These are for managing discomfort after procedures or due to infection.

Note: Medication alone can’t treat gum disease; it should be used in conjunction with professional cleanings, proper oral hygiene, and in some cases, dental procedures. Always use medications under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Remember, it’s crucial to see a dentist regularly for check-ups and professional cleaning to prevent gum disease. It’s also vital to maintain proper dental hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash. Smoking increases the risk of gum disease, so if you smoke, ask your doctor for help to quit. Eating a healthy diet also helps keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Prevention of Gum disease

Preventing gum disease involves maintaining good oral health. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Brush your teeth at least twice a day: This helps to remove the plaque and food particles that accumulate on your teeth and gums. It’s also beneficial to brush your teeth after eating.

2. Floss daily: Flossing can remove plaque and food from between your teeth and along the gum line that your toothbrush can’t reach.

3. Use a mouth rinse: An antimicrobial mouth rinse can help further reduce the bacteria in the mouth.

4. Visit your dentist regularly: It’s advised to see your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. The dentist can detect early gum disease symptoms if you visit them regularly, allowing for quick treatment.

5. Eat a healthy diet: A diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean meat, and dairy products can help promote good gum health.

6. Avoid using Tabaco: Both smoking and chewing tobacco can increase your risk for gum disease. Therefore, it’s best to avoid these products altogether.

7. Drink plenty of water: Water cleanses the mouth and produces more saliva which is crucial for maintaining oral health.

8. Control Diabetes: If you’re diagnosed with diabetes, controlling your blood sugar levels can prevent damage to your gums.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and maintaining good oral hygiene can prevent not only gum disease but a lot of other oral health problems as well. It’s always recommended to seek advice from your dentist for personalized preventive strategies based on your oral health condition.

FAQ’s about Gum disease

1. What is gum disease?
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, affects the tissue that holds your teeth in place. It usually occurs due to poor dental hygiene which leads to an infection by bacteria buildup in the form of plaque on the teeth.

2. What are the types of gum disease?
Gum disease is categorized into two main types– Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis is the milder form and it typically causes red, swollen gums whereas periodontitis is more severe and can lead to the loss of bone and tissues in the mouth.

3. What are the stages of gum disease?
The stages of gum disease are best classified as early gum disease (gingivitis), moderate gum disease (early periodontitis), and advanced gum disease (advanced periodontitis).

4. What are the symptoms of gum disease?
Symptoms of gum disease can include bad breath, swollen or tender gums, painful chewing, sensitive teeth, and loose teeth. Bleeding while brushing or flossing can also indicate gum disease.

5. How can periodontal disease affect overall health?
There is a connection between oral health and overall health. Gum disease has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and premature births or low birth weight in babies.

6. How is gum disease treated?
Treatment for gum disease depends on the severity of the condition. It could range from non-surgical treatments like professional dental cleaning, scaling, and root planing, to surgical treatments like flap surgery and bone and tissue grafts.

7. Can gum disease be prevented?
Yes, gum disease can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene. This includes regular brushing of teeth, flossing, using a mouthwash, regular dental checkups, and avoiding smoking.

8. Are some people more prone to gum disease than others?
Yes, people with poor oral hygiene are at a higher risk. Other factors such as genetic susceptibility, uncontrolled diabetes, smoking, and certain medications can also increase the chances of gum disease.

Always consult with a dental professional for accurate information that is specific to your situation.

Useful links

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, involves inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets.

Here are some useful journal links that provide more information:


Please remember that online sources should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider regarding your medical conditions or symptoms.

Complications of Gum disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. This is typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to build up on the teeth and harden.

Here are some complications linked with gum disease:

1. Tooth Loss: Chronic gum disease can affect the tissues and bone supporting the teeth, which could eventually lead to tooth loss.

Tooth loss

2. Bad Breath: It might cause persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

3. Heart Disease Risk: Research has shown that gum disease could increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including stroke and heart disease.

4. Diabetes: Diabetic patients with gum disease may have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels, and regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.

5. Receding Gums: Gum disease can cause gums to recede, exposing the roots of the teeth and leading to sensitivity, increased risk of decay, and alteration of your smile and bite.

6. Abscesses: Left untreated, gum disease can cause abscesses in the gum and bone tissue, resulting in pain and swelling.

7. Nutritional Deficiencies: Difficulty chewing and discomfort caused by gum disease can limit nutritional intake, leading to deficiencies.

8. Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant women who have periodontitis may be at a higher risk of giving birth to premature or low birth weight babies.

It’s important to get regular dental check-ups to ensure early detection and treatment of gum disease, and to maintain good oral hygiene habits at home.

Home remedies of Gum disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, can be quite severe if left untreated. It’s always recommended to seek professional dental care. However, these home remedies can support oral health and may help to alleviate some of the minor symptoms of gum disease.

1. Good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. Regular cleaning can help remove plaque and prevent gum disease. Also, consider using an electric toothbrush, as it can be more efficient at removing plaque.

2. Saltwater rinse: Salt is a natural disinfectant that can help your body to heal. Rinse your mouth with a warm saltwater solution regularly to kill bacteria and soothe inflamed gums.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide rinse: Mix equal parts 3% hydrogen peroxide and water, and use it as a mouth rinse. It can help kill bacteria and fight gum disease.

4. Thyme essential oil: Recent studies suggest that thymol, found in thyme essential oil, can kill harmful bacteria in the mouth. Mix a few drops of thyme essential oil with water, then use it as a mouth rinse.

5. Baking soda: Brushing with a paste made from baking soda and water can reduce bacteria in your mouth and prevent plaque buildup.

6. Turmeric gel: Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Applying a gel made of turmeric on gums may improve gum health.

7. Oil pulling: Swishing your mouth with coconut oil or sesame oil may potentially reduce plaque and signs of gingivitis.

Please note that while these remedies aid in better oral health, they cannot replace professional dental care and are not assured cures for gum disease. Always consult with a dentist for treatment of gum disease.

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Last Update: January 2, 2024