Gum Disease: Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Gum Disease: Types, Symptoms and Treatment

Experiencing tender, puffy, and bleeding gums? These can be signs and symptoms of gum disease. Gum disease is a serious oral health problem that can impact your overall health.

So, what is gum disease? No need to wonder anymore. This article will give complete information about Gum Disease.

  • Gum disease impacts nearly half of adult Americans (47.2%) aged 30 years and older.
  • Some individuals are more susceptible to gum disease, including women, older adults, and smokers.
  • Periodontal disease affects approximately 70.1% of adults aged 65 years and older.
  • Approximately 64.2% of smokers have gum disease.

What is Gum Disease?

What is gum disease? In this section we will cover what gum disease entails.

Gum disease is an oral infection generally induced by harmful bacteria from dental plaque. The bacteria trigger an inflammatory reaction in the oral tissues, which can become progressively worse over time if not treated. For many individuals, gum disease is painless, which is why it is also sometimes referred to as the “silent disease.” Gum disease is one of the top causes of tooth loss.

Types of Gum Disease

There are two types of gum disease. Continue reading to discover the gum disease stages.

Gingivitis – Early Stage of Gum Disease

The early stage of gum disease gingivitis should be treated immediately. Here we discuss more about gingivitis.

Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums. The top signs and symptoms of gingivitis are gums that are red in color, bleed persistently, are tender to touch, and appear swollen. Fortunately, the early stage of gingivitis can be reversed with treatment. You can reverse and prevent gum disease altogether by practicing good oral hygiene habits and visiting your dentist regularly.

Periodontitis – Advanced Stage of Gum Disease

Periodontal gum disease is the advanced stage of gum disease. Periodontitis can cause permanent damage to your oral and overall health. Continue reading to learn more about periodontal gum disease.

Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. The chronic inflammation causes the gums and bones to breakdown. This can lead to permanent bone loss, gingival recession, and even tooth loss. The harmful bacteria can even spread to other areas within the body and trigger systemic health problems.

Causes of Gum Disease

What causes gum disease? In this section we discuss various factors that can cause gum disease.

  • Improper Oral Hygiene
    One of the most common causes of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. The build-up of bacterial plaque on teeth and underneath the gumline triggers this oral infection.
  • Smoking
    Smokers are at an increased risk of develop gum disease than non-smokers. It’s important to quit smoking to improve your oral and overall health.
  • Age
    Age plays a role in the development of many dental issues, including gum disease. Older individuals have a higher risk of developing gum disease.
  • Family History
    Genetics can influence a person’s susceptibility to developing gum disease. Individuals who have family members with gum disease are more likely to develop it.
  • Hormone Changes
    Hormonal changes, such as during pregnancy, can increase the risk of gum disease. It is important to continue seeing your dentist for check-ups throughout pregnancy.
  • Medications
    Certain medications may cause symptoms of gingivitis. Common medications that result in inflamed gums include anti-seizure medications, calcium channel blockers3, and immunosuppressants.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
    A lack of certain nutrients that are essential for healthy teeth and gums can cause gum disease. This includes deficiencies in vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

There are numerous gum disease symptoms and signs to look out for. Take a look at the most common below.

Signs of Gingivitis

The signs of gingivitis can sometimes go unnoticed. Here are the signs your need to pay attention to.

  • Red and Swollen Gums
    Red and swollen gums are easy to see signs of gingivitis. Healthy gums should feel firm, rest tightly against the teeth, and appear pink in color.
  • Pain While Chewing
    You may notice that you are having trouble chewing. This may be caused by gingivitis due to pain caused by the inflammation within the mouth.

Signs of Periodontitis

As the condition of the gums worsens, additional signs will become noticeable. Continue reading to learn what the common signs of periodontitis include.

  • Gum Bleeding
    Normally, your gums should not bleed. Bleeding gums, whether spontaneously or from brushing and flossing, is typically a sign of gum disease.
  • Gum Recession
    When the gums appear to pull away from the teeth, this is referred to as gum recession. Bacteria associated with gum disease can breakdown the gum tissue and cause gum recession.
  • Pus Between Teeth and Gums
    Pus is a sign of a bacterial infection like gum disease. Pus that can’t drain will lead to a dental abscess, which can be life-threatening.
  • Halitosis (Bad Breath)
    Bad breath, also known as halitosis, sometimes can be normal. However, if bad breath becomes chronic, it could be a sign of gum disease caused by sulphur-producing bacteria.
  • Unpleasant Taste in the Mouth
    Individuals with gum disease may have an unpleasant taste in their mouth. People usually describe experiencing a sour or metallic taste.
  • Sensitivity When Biting
    Chewing can become difficult for individuals with gum disease. Gum disease can lead to the exposure of tooth roots which are easily sensitive to stimuli including pressur from biting.
  • Tooth Mobility or Shifting
    The teeth can become mobile or start shifting due to gum disease. This is because he the bones and gums that normally support the teeth weaken from the bacteria.

Diagnosis of Gum Disease

Early diagnosis of gum disease allows early treatment. Visit your dental professionals promptly for treatment to avoid complications of gum disease. In this section we discuss the methods of diagnosing gum disease.

Reviewing Medical History

During any dental visit, your dental professional will review your medical and dental history. This is beneficial for determining your risks factors for dental issues including gum disease. This information is also necessary for accurate diagnosis and treatment of dental conditions.

Inspecting Teeth Visually

Your dental professional will perform a thorough clinical examination. This will involve inspecting your mouth and teeth for signs of gum disease. There are many signs of gum disease that can be seen visually, including gum bleeding, inflammation, and bacterial plaque and tartar buildup.

Measuring Periodontal Health

Your periodontal health can be measured using certain diagnostic dental materials. A periodontal probe is commonly used to measure the depths of your gum pockets. Gum pocket depths increase with bacterial infection as the gum tissues become separated from the teeth.

Using Dental X-rays

Dental X-rays are essential for diagnosing dental issues, including gum disease. Your dentist will evaluate the jawbone levels, which decrease with severe gum disease. They can also identify dental abscesses via the X-rays.

Assessing Gum Recession

Gum diseases makes noticeable changes to your gums, such as gum recession. Bacteria breakdown your gum's attachment to your teeth. This can lead to the exposure of your tooth’s roots, which your dentist will measure.

Evaluating Tooth Mobility

Your dentist will evaluate tooth mobility. Your dentist will determine the extent of the mobility based on measurements. They often use a rigid instrument to determine the teeth's mobility.

Gum Disease Treatment

Gum disease treatment is necessary to restore your smile back to health. There are several nonsurgical and gum disease surgery treatment options, which we cover below.

Dental Cleaning

Dental cleaning should be performed routinely for adequate management of your oral hygiene. Professional dental cleanings remove tartar from your teeth and underneath your gums, which cannot be done with simply brushing and flossing. Your dental professional may recommend more frequent cleanings to reduce harmful oral bacteria, depending on your individual case.


Antibiotics are a common gum disease medication. Your dental professional may prescribe you with antibiotics to help reduce the bacteria within the mouth. This may be in the form of a pill, paste, or mouthwash, for instance.

Surgical Gum Repair

In more severe cases, surgical gum repair may be necessary. This is often indicated for individuals with advanced periodontal disease. Some common surgical gum repair treatments include, guided tissue regeneration and guided bone regeneration, which help regenerate gums and bone, respectively.

Scaling and Root Planing

For individuals with abnormal gum probing depths, your dental professional may recommend scaling and root planing. This procedure is often referred to as a deep cleaning. It allows bacterial plaque and tartar to be removed from your tooth’s root surfaces and the outer enamel layer. Dental anesthesia is commonly used for this treatment for your comfort.

Bone Grafting

Bone grafting can be used to replace bone that is lost from gum disease. A dental bone graft can be performed using your bone from a different location than the affected area, or from synthetic bone. Replacing the bone can also help stimulate the generation of new bone.

Laser Gum Treatment

Laser gum treatment is becoming more popular. Your dental professional will use a laser to remove damaged oral tissues and bacteria. Laser therapy, unlike, traditional gum surgery, doesn’t require surgical cuts to be made in the gums.

Gum Grafting

Gum grafting is a helpful treatment option for individuals impacted by gum recession. Gum grafts use either your own tissue, donated tissue or synthetic tissue to cover the area impacted by gum recession. This can help protect your teeth from tooth sensitivity and further damage.

How Much Does Gum Disease Treatment Cost?

Gum disease treatment cost is important to discuss. Continue reading to learn more.

Gum disease treatments can vary widely based on the procedure. Regular dental cleaning ranges in cost from approximately $65-$175. Scaling and root planing on average costs $120 per tooth. Other gum disease treatments, such as gum flap surgery, bone grafting, and gum pocket reduction cost on average between $1,700 - $8,000.

Complications / Risks of Gum Disease

Gum disease has been linked to many health issues. In this section we go over common complications and risks of gum disease.

  • Tooth Loss
    If gum disease is left untreated, tooth loss may occur. As bacteria breakdown the gums and teeth, the teeth progressively lose their support.
  • Gum Abscesses
    Gum abscesses can be a life-threatening complication of gum disease. It results from an accumulation of bacteria.
  • Systemic Health Issues
    It is becoming well-known that periodontal disease is linked with several systemic health issues. Research has reported its association with diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and respiratory issues.
  • Complications During Pregnancy
    Severe gum disease has been linked to complications during pregnancy. According to research, individuals with periodontitis have a higher likelihood of experience preterm birth and low birth weight.

How to Prevent Gum Disease?

Wondering how to prevent gum disease? Fortunately, gum disease can be prevented. Check out numerous simple ways to prevent gum disease.

  • Brush Twice a Day
    Brushing your teeth twice a day is essential for maintaining oral health. Brushing removes harmful bacterial plaque that contributes to gum disease.
  • Floss Regularly
    Flossing can help prevent gum disease. Daily flossing is necessary to remove food debris and bacterial plaque from underneath the gumline and in-between teeth.
  • Use a Soft Bristles Toothbrush
    It is recommended to use soft bristled toothbrushes. Avoid hard bristled toothbrushes, as they can apply harmful pressure to the gums.
  • Denture Care
    If you own dentures, it is important to clean them daily. Bacterial plaque can build up on dentures and increase your risk of gum disease.
  • Quit Smoking
    Smoking is bad for your overall health. It can even do damage to your gums by increasing your likelihood of developing gum disease.
  • Diabetes Control
    Keeping diabetes under control will in turn help your teeth and gums. Inflammation associated with diabetes and gum disease are both intertwined, according to research.
  • Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks
    Do your best to avoid sugary foods and beverages, which promote bacterial accumulation. Instead, consume tooth-friendly foods like fruits, leafy vegetables, and protein.
  • Drink Plenty of Water
    Staying hydrated with plenty of water is essential for your health. Try to drink fluoridated water when possible for the added tooth-strengthening benefits.
  • Do Regular Dental Checkups
    Regular dental checkups are a must for optimal oral health. Your dental professional can spot gum disease early and provide you with treatment before it worsens.

Enjoy a Healthier Smile with Early Gum Disease Treatment at Gentle Dental

Wanting a healthier smile? A healthier smile is attainable with the help of dental experts at Gentle Dental.

Our team of dental professionals at Gentle Dental can help you with everything related to oral care. If you believe you may have gum disease, contact us today! Gentle Dental offers outstanding gum disease treatment. The earlier the treatment, the better. Seeking early gum disease treatment can lower your risk of developing serious health problems.


You may not associate gum disease with serious health problems, but you should! Severe gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is linked to several systemic diseases that can be life-threatening. Gum disease is typically caused by a bacterial infection from dental plaque accumulation. If you notice signs or symptoms of gum disease, seek early treatment with our professional team at Gentle Dental to prevent it from becoming a severe problem.