What is Gum Disease (Periodontics)?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Gingivitis is gum disease in a mildest form. Learn about the risks, causes, prevention and gum disease treatment here.

A diagram of four stages of gum disease and periodontitis

Risks of Gum Disease

Gum disease can cause a variety of different oral health problems, some of these include:

  • Inflammation
  • Tooth loss
  • Bone Damage
  • Plaque

The gum infection begins when inflammation of the gum occurs due to bacteria in plaque, the sticky film that forms on your teeth.

What Causes Gum Disease?

There are many causes of gum disease. Although it isn’t possible to stop all the causes, being aware of them is important to have a happy mouth, and healthy looking teeth. Causes include:

  • Stress
  • Smoking or Tobacco Use
  • Genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Medications
  • Poor Nutrition


What is Gingivitis?

As mentioned above, gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. The gums become red and swollen and bleed easily, but there is little to no discomfort associated with this stage of the disease.  It is possible to reverse gingivitis through good oral hygiene and gum disease treatments from the dentist.

Gingivitis Risk Factors

If teeth gingivitis treatment is not received it could progress to periodontitis, which can be aggressive and chronic.  Aggressive periodontitis displays rapid bone destruction and attachment loss. Chronic periodontitis is one of the most common forms of gum disease and is frequently seen in adults.  The stages progress slowly and can be recognized by gum recession and pocket formation.

Gum Disease Treatment and Prevention

In certain cases, periodontal surgery may be recommended to treat gum disease when non-surgical treatment proves ineffective. Such procedures include:

  • Pocket reduction
  • Soft tissue grafts
  • Bone regeneration

If a tooth is lost due to gum disease, dental implants are always an option for permanent tooth replacement.

Good oral hygiene and regular dentist check-ups will go a long way in preventing periodontal disease. If careful, gum disease treatment won’t be needed. Daily brushing and flossing can keep plaque to a minimum and, in conjunction with professional cleanings 2-4 times a year, can keep your teeth healthy for life!

What can I do about my bad breath?

We are all aware that after eating onions or garlic, we’re left with less than desirable breath. But what if you experience bad breath (halitosis) more often than not. It can definitely have a negative impact on your comfort level socially. Fortunately, there are some effective ways to achieve a fresh mouth.

Brush and floss frequently. We should all be brushing our teeth twice a day and flossing at least once.

If you’re experiencing breath issues, brushing and flossing more frequently will help with plaque and bacteria that contribute to the problem.

Scrape your tongue. Our tongue is often the host to bacteria that is less than pleasant smelling.

Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to remove bacteria and dead cells.

Use mouthwash. An anti-bacterial mouthwash with help to reduce plaque that causes foul smelling bacteria in your mouth.

Drink plenty of water. Lacking a sufficient amount of saliva promotes tooth decay and can cause bad breath.

Chew gum. Gum stimulates saliva, which is our natural defense against plaque acids.

Avoid foods that cause bad breath such as garlic and onions, especially before social occasions since brushing doesn’t help much to rid your mouth of the odor.

Talk to your dentist. Bad breath could be a sign of a bigger problem such as gum disease.

Keep in mind that South Sound Dental also does other types of dental treatments other than Periodontics. Click here to look at all of our dental treatments.