Gum Disease 101: Everything You Need to Know About Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Gum disease is a common dental problem for Canadians. It’s most often caused by poor oral hygiene, which leaves a buildup of plaque and bacteria on your gums and teeth. Eventually, this buildup can lead to infections that cause gum disease.


Types of Gum Disease

There are two types of gum disease:

• Gingivitis. This is the milder form of gum disease. It can cause your gums to become red and swollen. They may bleed when you floss or brush your teeth. Gingivitis is usually reversible with proper at-home oral care.

• Periodontitis. This more serious type of gum disease attacks not just your gums, but also the bones and tissue that support your teeth. It can cause your gums to loosen and form gaps that may become infected and eventually lead to losing your teeth.

Preventing Gum Disease

Proper oral hygiene is the best way put an end to gum disease. To prevent it, do the following:

• Brush your teeth two or three times a day using fluoridate toothpaste and a soft-bristled tooth brush.

• Floss daily, making sure to clean both sides of each tooth and under the gums as far as you can without causing pain.

• Visit your dentist twice a year for a thorough cleaning and dental exam.

A healthy lifestyle can also decrease your chances of getting gum disease. Don’t smoke, drink plenty of water and eat a diet that favours fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.

Treatments for Gum Disease

If you develop gingivitis, it can be reversed by visiting a dentist for a cleaning and following a proper at-home oral hygiene routine.

Gum disease that has advanced to periodontitis often requires more aggressive forms of treatment, including the following:

• Gum therapy. Your dentist may suggest curettage and root planing. Under local anesthesia, your dentist will remove infected tissue around the tooth. Root surfaces are then cleaned and smoothed to promote healing of the soft tissue.

• Medication. In certain cases, antibiotics are required to treat the infection that’s causing the gum disease. This can be in the form of a mouthwash, a gel or oral tablets.

• Gum surgery. In extreme cases, surgery may be performed to tighten the gums around the teeth. A bone graft may also be required.

Looking for a Dentist in South Edmonton?

If you think you have gum disease, a teeth cleaning and checkup with the general dentistry team at Heritage Dental Centre in South Edmonton is the first step to recovery. Call us today to make an appointment.