Do I Have Gum Disease? Treatment & Causes


Dr Aran Moorthy

This article was written by Australian dental surgeon Dr Aran Moorthy, BDS. Dr Moorthy has a Bachelor of Dental Surgery from the University of Adelaide. You can read more about Dr Moorthy here >

Man Checking for gum disease and bleeding

Gum disease is common, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok…

Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an inflammation of the gums. And it’s common – but not in a ‘let’s not worry about it’ kind of way. If left untreated, it can lead to painfully infected gums and even tooth loss. Over 22% of Australians suffer from moderate or severe periodontitis, according to the Dept of Health.

If you suspect you have gum disease, it’s important to see the dentist as soon as you can.

Gum disease occurs in two main stages:

  • Gingivitis – which is reversible
  • Periodontitis – which is not reversible and must be managed throughout your life

As the early signs of gum disease are not always painful, many people ignore the symptoms and develop periodontitis, requiring ongoing treatment.

What causes gum disease?

Bacteria in dental plaque, which accumulates in the teeth along the gum line, cause gum disease. If this bacteria is not removed, the gums become inflamed in their response to remove it. When the gums’ seal is damaged by periodontal disease, the gums form small spaces known as periodontal pockets. Bacteria gets trapped in these pockets, causing more inflammation and damage to the surrounding bone and tooth roots.

Gum disease symptoms

Early symptoms of gum disease are subtle, so you may not notice them. Let’s take a look at the symptoms in both stages:

STAGE I – Gingivitis symptoms:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums when  brushing teeth

STAGE 2 – Periodontitis:

  • Swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Pus around gums
  • Visible ‘pockets’ (periodontal pockets)
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Soreness when biting food
  • Loose teeth or even tooth loss

Contact Mills Road Dental if you have any of the above symptoms. T: (08) 9398 3930

Gum disease prevention & treatment

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please contact us immediately and come in for a consultation. If you only have a little bleeding and redness, you can still keep brushing your teeth, even though your gums may be a bit sensitive.

Prevention of gum disease firmly lies around good oral health. Good oral health includes brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing or interdental brushing once-a-day, rinsing your mouth with water throughout the day and avoiding junk food and smoking.

Suppose you have the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis). In that case, you can usually remedy this with good oral hygiene and professional cleanings.

If you have moderate to advanced gum disease (periodontitis), your dentist may perform root planing or deep cleaning in and around the gums. Additionally, they may prescribe antibiotics and anti-bacterial toothpaste or mouthwash.

“Prevention of gum disease strongly lies around good oral health.”

Risk factors

Although poor oral health is the leading cause of gum disease, there are some other risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • Eating and drinking sugary foods
  • Diabetes
  • Weakened immune system
  • Stress
  • Malnutrition

Get in Touch

If you think you may have symptoms of gum disease, get in touch with us today.

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