Don’t Let Gum Disease Take Over: Tips to Spot and Prevent It

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common yet often overlooked dental health issue affecting millions of people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half (47.2%) of adults aged 30 years and older in the United States have some form of periodontal disease. 

Among adults aged 65 and older, the prevalence of periodontal disease increases to 70.1%. This chronic inflammatory condition can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to other serious health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. 

Early detection and prevention are crucial in maintaining optimal oral health and a beautiful smile. In this post, we will discuss the signs and symptoms of gum disease, preventive measures, and treatment options to take control of your dental health.

Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

Gum disease is primarily caused by plaque buildup, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. This buildup irritates and inflames the gums, leading to the initial stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. 

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Here are some common signs and symptoms of gum disease:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums: Healthy gums are generally firm and pink. If your gums are red, swollen, or tender to the touch, this may indicate gum disease.
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing: It is not normal for your gums to bleed during routine oral care. If you experience bleeding while brushing or flossing, this could be a sign of gingivitis.
  • Persistent bad breath: While bad breath can have various causes, persistent bad breath may indicate an underlying issue such as gum disease.
  • Receding gums: Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth or teeth that appear longer than before may signal gum recession, a common symptom of periodontitis.
  • Loose teeth: Advanced gum disease can cause the supporting structures around the teeth, including the gums and bone, to break down, leading to loose teeth or even tooth loss.

Preventive Measures

The good news is that gum disease is preventable. Here are some effective ways to help prevent gum disease and maintain good oral health:

  • Practice good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and rinse an antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce plaque buildup. Floss daily to remove plaque and food debris between teeth and below the gum line.
  • Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental cleaning and checkups are essential for optimal oral health. Your dentist can detect early signs of gum disease and provide appropriate treatment before it progresses.
  • Eat a balanced diet: A well-balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help strengthen your immune system and protect against gum disease. Limit sugary snacks and drinks, as they can contribute to plaque buildup.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking is a significant risk factor for gum disease and can hinder the healing process after treatment. Quitting smoking can significantly improve your oral health and overall well-being.
  • Manage stress: High-stress levels can impair your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to fight infection. Practice stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, or deep breathing exercises to help maintain a healthy immune system.

Treatment Options

If you suspect that you may have gum disease, it is essential to consult with your dentist as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can help prevent the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of tooth loss. Depending on the severity of the gum disease, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Scaling and root planing: This non-surgical deep cleaning procedure removes plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planing smoothes the tooth roots, allowing the gums to reattach to the teeth.
  • Medications: Your dentist may prescribe antimicrobial mouth rinses, antibiotic gels, or oral antibiotics to help control bacterial infection.
  • Surgical treatments: In severe cases, surgical procedures such as flap surgery, bone grafting, or guided tissue regeneration may be required to restore the damaged gum and bone tissues.


Taking control of your dental health is essential in preventing gum disease and maintaining a stunning smile. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of gum disease, practicing good oral hygiene, and seeking professional dental care, you can effectively prevent and treat gum disease, ensuring optimal oral health for years.

Are you looking for a dentist in Westborough for cleaning and whitening services? Family Dental of Westborough provides services for dental care, cleanings, and routine maintenance, as well as various cosmetic dental procedures and dental emergencies.  Book an appointment and experience our quality service today!

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