Gum Disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Gum disease, encompassing gingivitis and periodontitis, is a prevalent oral health condition characterized by inflammation and infection of the gums. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for gum disease is essential for maintaining oral health and preventing complications.

Causes of Gum Disease

1. Poor Oral Hygiene

Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to accumulate along the gumline, leading to gum disease.

2. Smoking and Tobacco Use

Smoking and using tobacco products increase the risk of gum disease by interfering with the body’s immune response and compromising gum tissue health.

3. Hormonal Changes

Hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during puberty, pregnancy, or menopause, can make gums more susceptible to inflammation and infection.

4. Medical Conditions



Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and autoimmune diseases can weaken the immune system and increase the risk of gum disease.

5. Genetics

Genetic factors play a role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to gum disease. Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing gum disease despite practicing good oral hygiene.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

1. Red, Swollen Gums

Healthy gums are pale pink and firm. In gum disease, the gums become red, swollen, and tender due to inflammation.

2. Bleeding Gums

Gums that bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing, are a common early sign of gum disease.

3. Bad Breath

Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth may indicate the presence of gum disease-causing bacteria.

4. Receding Gums

As gum disease progresses, the gums may recede or pull away from the teeth, exposing the tooth roots and leading to sensitivity.

5. Loose or Shifting Teeth

Advanced gum disease can cause the supporting structures of the teeth to deteriorate, leading to loose teeth or changes in the alignment of the teeth.

Treatment of Gum Disease

1. Professional Dental Cleaning

Professional dental cleanings, also known as scaling and root planing, remove plaque and tartar buildup from the teeth and gums to prevent further inflammation and infection.

2. Improved Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene practices, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash, are essential for managing and preventing gum disease.

3. Antibiotic Therapy

In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to control bacterial infection and reduce inflammation in the gums.

4. Gum Surgery

Advanced cases of gum disease may require surgical interventions such as flap surgery or gum grafts to repair damaged gum tissue and restore oral health.

5. Lifestyle Changes

Quitting smoking or tobacco use, managing underlying medical conditions, and maintaining a healthy diet can help prevent gum disease and support overall oral health.


Gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, is a common oral health condition that can lead to serious complications if left untreated. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for gum disease, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain healthy gums and prevent oral health problems.