Gum disease: causes, symptoms and treatments of periodontitis

Written by: Top Doctors®
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Symptoms and treatment of gum disease. 




What can cause a gum infection?

Periodontitis is a bacterial infection caused by the build-up of dental plaque, which destroys the tissue and bone supporting the teeth, leading to gum inflammation (gingiva), and receding and bleeding gums.


What are the symptoms of periodontitis?

The earliest sign of periodontitis disease is bleeding gums, or gingivitis, which occurs when brushing the teeth or naturally. Other symptoms of the gum infection include the loosening and movement of both the tooth and the gingiva (gum) which exposes more teeth, as well as new gaps between teeth known as ‘black spaces’ or ‘loopholes’. There may even be discharge, a bad taste, a chronic smell (halitosis) and phlegm. The development of gum abscesses can also be a sign of periodontitis. 


How is periodontitis disease treated?

There are three stages to gum infection treatment, firstly an oral hygienist gives the mouth a thorough clean and scrapes the gums to reduce infection. The second stage removes bags and regenerates gingiva and bone, if possible, with minimally invasive surgical procedures. The third and final stage is maintenance, which is absolutely necessary to prevent any further gum disease.


Is gum disease contagious?

There is no definitive answer to this question but periodontitis is caused by the bacteria and mucus found under the gums and in saliva. Some studies show that after 10 years of cohabitation some of these bacteria are transmitted between partners. Everyone has the bacteria that causes low-level periodontitis and it is the bacterial overgrowth, accumulation of plaque and genetic susceptibility, which generates infection.


How can I keep my gums healthy after treatment?

Years of research on periodontitis treatment show that daily oral hygiene practices, such as flossing and brushing, are essential and without maintenance the treatment does not work. Patients who are susceptible to gum disease should commit to a routine check-up with an orthodontist every four to six months for the rest of their lives.

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By Topdoctors

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