Gum Disease: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis And Treatment

Gum Disease

The secret of a powerful smile lies behind the color of your lips and teeth. Unfortunately, gum disease can rob off from the sexy smile you have always wanted to floss with. There is a strong connection between gum disease/periodontal disease and heart disease. Also referred to as Gingivitis, gum disease is a condition characterized by inflammation of the gums and loss of supporting structures around your teeth. It is usually caused by bacteria that reside in your mouth, especially if you have poor oral hygiene practices. These bacteria along with their toxins break down gum tissues, and, as a result, your body fire back with an inflammatory response, resulting in red, swollen gums.

Gum Diseases Symptoms

According to Phong Ta, a New York City-based general dentist, Healthy gums are pink and firm in appearance. Ta says that gum disease is characterized by red gums that are swollen or tend to become very tender and bleed easily when brushed, touched or flossed. Other symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • New spaces start to develop between your teeth
  • Pus between your gum and teeth
  • Notable changes in the way your teeth fit together every time you make a bite
  • Gum pulls away from your teeth making your teeth longer than normal
Gum Diseases Symptoms

Whereas there are different types of gum diseases, the most common one is chronic periodontitis that mostly affects adults, although children can also become infected.

Who Gets Gum Disease?

Statistics has it that nearly 75% of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum disease. A recent research showed that about 39% of adults do not make regular visits to their dentists

Causes of Gum Disease

Dentists claim that gum disease starts with plague – a sticky film mainly composed of bacteria. Plague develops on your teeth due to an accumulation of starch and sugars, which interacts with bacteria normally found in your oral cavity. You can remove* the plague by brushing or flossing. However, plague reforms quickly in less than 24 hours. If you let plague stay for 2 to 3 days, it can get hardened under your gum line to for a calculus. Calculus, or tartar, can also form due to the mineral content found in your saliva. Calculus makes the plague more difficult to clear and can act as a breeding site for bacteria. Brushing or flossing can hardly get rid of this plague unless you seek from a professional dental cleaner.

Risk Factors of Gum Diseases

Gum disease has various risk factors including:

  • Heredity; it can be passed through genes from parents to siblings
  • If you had previously suffered from gingivitis
  • Poor oral hygiene practices
  • Smoking or use of tobacco
  • Older age
  • Poor nutrition
  • Decreased* immunity, because of leukemia or HIV AIDS or chemotherapy
  • Diabetes
  • Certain prescription and non-prescription medications
  • Hormonal changes especially during menopause
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor dental restorations

Gum Diseases Prevention and Cure*

The practice of good oral hygiene is the best way to cure* and prevent gum disease and healthy teeth. Sometimes you may have to undergo dental and medical treatments to overcome symptoms associated to gum disease. A good oral hygiene practice should involve:

  • Brushing your teeth twice in a day – in the morning and the evening. Each brushing should take a minimum of three minutes. An electric brush is ideal for preventing plague formation.
  • Brush using a toothpaste containing fluoride that fights tooth decay.
  • Floss your teeth on a daily basis.
  • Avoid smoking or tobacco use
  • Visit your dentist regularly, at least twice annually
  • Try antiseptic mouthwashes

When to see a Dentist?

See a Dentist

If you start noticing any symptoms associated with gum disease including puffy, red, or dusky gums that bleed easily, consult your dentist at once. The earlier you seek care, the higher the chances of reversing damages caused by gum disease. It will also help to prevent further damages that can have adverse health complications. Dentists’ main goal in treating gum disease is to control any infection already in place while halting the progression of the disease. Treating option includes healthy diet, proper brushing, and flossing, non-surgical therapy and surgery to restore supportive tissues


Gum disease is more concerning especially in advanced stages when you start losing teeth or gets jaws that require realignment. The good news is that if appropriate action is taken at an earlier stage, it is possible to reverse the effects that the gum disease can cause. It all has to start with the practice of a good oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride can go a long way in preventing tooth decay. Flossing, balanced diet and quitting smoking are also important in improving* your overall health, as well as that of your mouth.

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Contributor : Syeda Kiran Zahra Hussain (Consumer Health Digest)

This Article Has Been Published on April 13, 2017 and Last Modified on August 11, 2018

Syeda Kiran Zahra Hussain is a Pakistan origin health writer and nutritionist. After her basic education in Pakistan, she moved to Oman for further studies and became "the First-Health Coach from the Sultanate". She is graduate of Psychology, Philosophy, and English Literature, and was also nominated for "Full-Bright Scholarship Program," from St. Joseph College for women. Syeda is our lead contributing News Editor and she believes "Food is the best form of Preventive-Medicine". Connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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