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Gum Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to your gums. But did you know that gum disease is the most common form of oral disease? It affects nearly 7 out of 10 adults in Canada. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and even more serious health problems. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes of gum disease, symptoms to look out for, and how to prevent it. We’ll also cover treatment options available if you do develop gum disease. So read on to learn everything you need to know about this oral health problem!

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that supports your teeth. It is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed, it can harden into tartar (calculus). Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease and is reversible with good oral hygiene. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which is more serious and can lead to tooth loss.

Causes of Gum Disease

There are a few different things that can cause gum disease. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause, as it allows plaque and tartar to build up on your teeth. This can be due to not brushing or flossing regularly or not using the proper technique when you brush and floss. Other causes of gum disease include:

  • Smoking
  • Certain medications that cause dry mouth or decreased saliva flow
  • Crooked teeth that are difficult to clean
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause
  • Diabetes

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, is often symptomless. This is why it’s so important to see a dental professional regularly for checkups and cleaning. However, as gum disease progresses, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Receding gums (gums that pull away from your teeth)
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a dental professional right away. They will be able to diagnose whether you have gum disease and recommend treatment options.

Prevention of Gum Disease

The best way to prevent gum disease is by practicing good oral hygiene habits. This means brushing twice a day for two minutes with a toothpaste that contains fluoride and flossing once a day. It’s also important to see a dental professional regularly for checkups and cleanings.

If you are at increased risk for gum disease (for example, if you smoke or have diabetes), your dental professional may recommend more frequent visits or additional treatments to help prevent the disease.

Treatment of Gum Disease

If you have gum disease, there are a few different treatment options available. The type of treatment recommended will depend on how severe your gum disease is.

For mild cases of gum disease (gingivitis), a deep cleaning may be all that is needed. This involves removing the plaque and tartar from your teeth above and below the gum line. Your dental professional may also recommend additional home care measures, such as using a special toothpaste or mouthwash.

For more severe cases of gum disease (periodontitis), additional treatments may be necessary, such as scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing the tartar from your teeth above and below the gum line. Root planing involves smoothing rough spots on the roots of your teeth to remove bacteria and toxins. In some cases, surgery may also be necessary to treat periodontitis.


If you have gum disease, it’s important to see a dental professional for treatment right away. Untreated gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems. So don’t wait – make an appointment with us today!

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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