girl checking her mouth for gum disease

Gum Disease – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Nov 01, 2019

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in position. This is mainly caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that builds upon the teeth and hardens. In advanced stages, gum disease can lead to bleeding gums, sore gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss.

Causes of Gum Disease

Mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, continuously form a colorless, sticky “plaque” on teeth. Plaque that is not removed can become hard and turn into tartar that brushing can’t remove. There are also other factors that can cause gum diseases like diabetes hormonal changes in females, medications that reduce the flow of saliva, illnesses such as AIDS, medications, and genetic susceptibility.


There are various signs of sum disease like persistent bad breath, bleeding or tender gums, red or swollen gums, painful chewing, sensitive or lose teeth or receding gums.


Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, which means inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is usually a result of poor dental hygiene. Gingivitis is a very common condition. It is characterized by swollen, red gums that bleed easily when teeth are flossed or brushed. Gingivitis begins when food particles mix with saliva and bacteria, which, in turn, creates a dental plaque that sticks to the surfaces of teeth. If dental plaque isn’t properly cleaned and brushed with toothpaste and flossing, it can form tartar or calculus, which is very hard, and only professional dental cleaning can remove it. Both tartar and dental plaque are filled with harmful bacteria, and if they aren’t removed from teeth, they will start to irritate the gums and cause gingivitis. If it is left untreated, gingivitis will often extend from the gums to the bone and lead to periodontitis. You should book an appointment with the dentist in Belvidere, IL, for any kind of such issues.

Treatment for Gingivitis

The gingivitis treatment goals are to identify and remove the factors that make the person more prone to gum disease. Most factors can be avoided by establishing more consistent and complete oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings. After the plaque and tartar are removed by a dental hygienist or a dentist, the patient can typically eliminate gingivitis by brushing and flossing after every meal. Under the guidance of a dentist, a patient can use a prescription mouth wash that specifically targets oral bacteria that cause gum disease. This is especially helpful in patients where conventional oral hygiene practices like flossing and brushing are impaired due to age or special needs.

In patients where gingivitis has led to periodontal disease, and there are deep areas that are difficult to clean, the patient might need deep scaling and root planing to clean teeth that are surrounded by deep pockets. They may need surgery to gain access to all the tooth surfaces for more detailed cleaning. This operation is called as flap surgery and can be done with a pocket-reduction surgery to make the areas around the teeth easier for the patient to clean with flossing and brushing. This process consists of numbing the gums and then lifting them back to expose and clean the teeth and sometimes reshape the bone. The gums are then rearranged back around the teeth so that there aren’t the deep pockets that existed before treatment.

Laser therapy is also one of the best treatments to help increase gum health. The gum pocket is treated with a soft-tissue laser to avoid the harmful bacteria deep in the periodontal pockets, remove unhealthy tissue, and help generate healing.

Gum Disease Treatment

The main goal of gum disease treatment is to control the infection. The types and number of treatments will vary depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment needs that the patient keeps up good daily care at home. The dentist may also recommend changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve the treatment results.

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