Gum disease affects most people at some time during their life. It is usually caused by a build-up of plaque on teeth, and one of the most common signs of gum disease is bleeding gums. Careful and regular cleaning of your teeth and gums each day can help prevent gum disease.

There are two main stages of gum disease - gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is an early gum disease, which occurs when dental plaque builds up on teeth, particularly where the gum joins the tooth. The signs of gingivitis are bleeding, redness and swelling of the gum. Periodontitis is an advanced gum disease that may occur if gingivitis is not treated. The gum margin (the part of the gum that seals to the tooth) is weakened and spaces form between the tooth and the gum, called ‘periodontal pockets.’ Bacteria and their products become trapped in these pockets causing further inflammation. Signs of periodontitis include bleeding, swelling, receding gums, bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth and loose teeth.


Risk factors for developing the gum disease include brushing your teeth too vigorously or receiving injury to the gums in some other way, poor dental hygiene, general ill-health, uncontrolled diabetes, misaligned teeth, and ill-fitting mouth appliances such as braces and dentures which may cause irritation to the gums. Some medications, such as oral contraceptive pills, can also increase your risk of developing gingivitis. Gingivitis may also occur during pregnancy when hormones may cause changes to the sensitivity of the gums.


Maintaining high standards of oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease as it removes the plaque that causes the disorder. You should clean your teeth carefully twice a day with a soft, small-headed toothbrush, such as Philips Flex Care Rechargeable Sonic Toothbrush and Oral B Trizone 3000 Electric Toothbrush. Make sure to brush especially along the gumline where the gum meets the tooth as this ensures the gum tissue and supporting structures remain healthy. The careful use of dental floss between teeth also assists in removal of plaque.  You can use Oral B Floss Ultra or even try Philips Sonicare Rechargeable Air Floss. Although people with gingivitis may be tempted to avoid brushing due to the tenderness of their gums, brushing and flossing may be recommended after every meal and at bedtime to prevent plaque build-up and will help improve the situation.


Like many conditions, early intervention to treat gum diseases can ensure the longevity of your teeth. If you have swollen or bleeding gums or your teeth feel loose, see your dentist or oral health professional. The dentist or oral health professional will determine the health of your gums and supporting structures. Getting treatment for dental problems early can help save teeth that are at risk from gum disease and other conditions.