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Gum disease (Periodontal Disease), symptoms and treatment explained by Kingston Upon Thames dentist

1 January 2014

Gum disease is inflammation of the gum caused by poor oral hygiene. Bacteria forms a sticky colourless plaque on the teeth. Daily brushing and flossing helps to remove the plaque. If the plaque is not removed regularly, it forms a hard surface on the teeth called tartar that can only be removed through professional cleaning by a dental hygienist. If plaque accumulation is not addressed early, it can lead to underplaying tissues and bone surrounding the tooth which causes tooth loose.

Gum disease can appear in two stages depending on severity.


This is the early stage of gum disease. If dental hygiene is not maintained, bacteria forms a plaque on the gum line, producing toxins which inflame the gums, causing gingivitis. You may experience bleeding gums during brushing and flossing. This is the early symptom of gingivitis. This is the stage of gum disease that can be reversed since the underlying tissues and bone are not yet affected.


If the gum inflammation and bleeding is not addressed early, the gums start receding, creating pockets that accumulate more plaque. Professional cleaning by a detist can stop further damage. As time goes by, the pockets become deeper, bone and supporting tissues become affected. When the gums recede, they expose more of the teeth, eventually the teeth become loose and fall out.

Periodontitis is not reversible completely, but the progress can be stopped by receiving appropriate treatment and maintaining a good oral hygiene.

How to know if you have gum disease?

If you have any of the following symptoms you should seek advice from a dentist:

  • Red, puffy and swollen gum
  • Bleeding gum while brushing or flossing
  • Receded gums causing more visible teeth
  • Bad breath and bad taste (metal taste) in the mouth.

How is Gum disease treated?

  • The early stages of gum disease can often be reversed with effective brushing and flossing. Good daily oral hygiene will help keep plaque from building up.
  • Professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. If your gum condition is more severe, you may require extensive treatment. After the successful treatment of gum disease, you still need to take extra care of your gums to make sure the gum disease doesn’t come back. Your dentist will advise you on how best to look after your gums before, during and after treatment.

By visiting a dentist regularly, early stages of gum disease can be treated before they lead to severe conditions.

Smoking can make gum disease worse. If you smoke, the first sign of gum disease (bleeding) can be missed.

We at Surbiton Smile Centre ® have extensive experience in treating gum disease. If you think you need advice on the health of your gums, or have experienced bleeding gums, do not hesitate to contact us, we are here to help.

Contact Surbiton Smile Centre ® today

Please get in touch if you are concerned about any aspect of your dental health. We will treat you fairly and honestly - and we look forward to being able to help you.

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