What is Gum disease? What causes Gum disease?
31 Oct

What is Gum disease? What causes Gum disease?

Did you know, gum disease is the most common than most people realize? From the survey reports of the dental council of India, it was found that 89.6% of Indians aged between 35-44 years suffer from Gum diseases.

Oral Health is the most concerned routine, you are suggested to follow. When we think of oral health, we tend to care for the teeth by brushing and flossing. We barely consider caring for our gums.

Your gums also play a very important role in oral health. Without proper care for them, you may have the chance of getting periodontal diseases. These when took their form, cause bone and tooth loss.

When I met many patients with periodontists or any gum diseases, I usually hear that there are zero to fewer symptoms like no pain. But this doesn’t mean they haven’t identified the gum disease. It is mostly a sort of chronic condition such as hypertension.

In this blog, I would like to give you the details of gum diseases & types, symptoms, preventive measures, treatments available, and other self-care tips.

Table of Content:

  1. What is Gum Disease?
    1. Know these causes of Gum Diseases
  2. The Common Causes
  3. Know the Warning Signs
  4. Diagnosing the Gum Disease
  5. FAQs


What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal or Gum disease is an inflammatory disease that affects the tissues that surround and strengthens the tooth. It is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Your teeth are held by the gums and a supporting bone. Issues with either of these may have serious consequences. If this attachment is lost, it is called periodontal disease.

Your mouth is the home for many bacteria that forms a sticky colorless layer on your teeth. This is called plaque. If this plaque is kept uncleaned, it forms a thick substance called tartar. When the bacteria gets built up under the gum line and is left untreated, it grows to the severity and results in tooth loss. This condition is termed gingivitis or gum infection. A gum disease is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed while brushing or flossing the teeth.


Know these causes of gum disease

As we stated in our above discussion, your mouth is the home for many bacteria. These bacteria produce harmful toxins that irritate the gum tissues. If this bacteria is not regularly cleaned off, it forms the plaque which is the hero of this disease. Gum diseases don’t appear that severe until the plaque is well established and pain increases. So, it is most important to know the causes of gum diseases.

Do you ever wonder how that bacteria is getting accumulated in the mouth?

First, let me tell you a fact. “A healthy mouth is colonized by more than 700 species of bacteria. It is not the direct bacteria, but it is that developed from the food that got trapped between the tooth and the gum line.  Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease where plaque gets formed. Untreated gingivitis leads to periodontitis in which the plaque gets spread over the area forming a gap between the tooth and gums. This space is technically termed periodontal pockets or simply Pockets.


The Common Causes

For periodontics to form, there may be genetic and environmental causes. If these causes are known and proper preventive measures are followed, there are maximum chances of reversing these.

To make it easy for you, I have listed the common causes. Just put a check on these even if you are healthy orally, just to maintain it.

1. Poor Dental Hygiene

Prevention of dental diseases starts at Home. Yes, you read it right.

Oral or dental hygiene includes the overall care for your tooth and gums. Overall care I mean the preventive measures, after cares, etc. Maintaining oral hygiene is not the toughest job as you feel. If oral hygiene isn’t maintained, the bacteria in contact with the debris develop and multiply forming an infectious substance.

2. Tobacco Usage

In most of our earlier blogs, we reported that “Tobacco has adverse effects on the tooth and overall oral health”. Research also found that tobacco usage is one of the significant factors in the development and progression of gum diseases. Smoke from tobacco weakens the oral tissues that strengthen the tooth and gum. This reduces the recovery power and thus the healing rate in smokers is less. Tobacco aids in the development of deep pockets.

3. Genetic Predispostion

Despite practicing oral hygiene, there are as many as 30% of individuals have strong genetic predispositions. This means that patients with their parents or grandparents having dentures are said to be genetically predisposed. To detect this, genetic tests are used to determine the susceptibility, and then early preventive care is suggested to maintain oral health.

4. Pregnancy & Menopause

Women's body experiences several hormonal imbalances. These effects the various body functioning. During this, the gum tissue becomes more sensitive making them more susceptible to gum diseases.

5. Grinding Teeth

Grinding teeth is that hard bite or bad bite you give with teeth. This damages the teeth supporting tissue sometimes leading to teeth dislocation or misalignment. So, this increases the chances of food accumulating in that area and bacteria development.


Along with these, there are other common causes of Gum diseases, they are:

  • Cancer and cancer treatments make the person more susceptible to infections.
  • Alcohol consumption suppresses the oral defense mechanism.
  • Stress impairs the response rate of the body’s immune system to infections.
  • Mouth breathing brings chronic irritation to the gums which lead to infections.
  • Infrequent or no dental care
  • Poor saliva production


Know the warning signs

You may not feel the pain or discomfort throughout your day. But you might have noticed any of the following. If YES, do not ignore these!

  1. Gums that bleed during or after brushing
  2. Red, swollen, tender gums
  3. Persistent bad breath
  4. Receding gums
  5. Loose teeth
  6. Shifting teeth
  7. Changes in the way you bite


These are some most common warning signs. But remember, these aren’t shown in the very beginning stages. Hence, I always suggest to my patients also everyone have regular dental checkups and oral, and dental cleanings. If detected early, these can be reversed. However, excellent home care ensures and preserves your natural dentition and protects your gums and teeth from unwelcome infections.


Diagonising the gum disease

The following are the methods I recommend to detect gum diseases. These are performed in regular dental checkups.


Measuring the gums

A well-developed gum disease forms a Pocket near the gum line. The depth of its infection is to be measured first. For this, we use a periodontal probe. Generally, healthy gums will have pockets of 1 mm-3 mm deep. If we found any patient beyond this, we make it clear that the “Deeper the Pocket, the more severe the disease”.


Dental X-Rays

There are different X-ray types in dentistry. But particularly, bitewing dental X-rays help in showing the level of bone and the infections around it if any.


Examining the tooth sensitivity

Any oral disorder shows a sensitivity of the tooth. In the case of gum diseases, you may experience this sensitivity near the gum line. This indicates a sign of receding gums.


Examining the tooth & gum condition

The infection in the tooth and gums result in bone loss. This aids in the tooth loosening giving a way to bacteria accumulation around the gums.



Any gum disease is curable if diagnosed in the early stages. Just a piece of oral preventive measures with regular dental cleanings will help you prevent these. Our dental clinic can help you prevent gum diseases with all the guidance on oral health. As we detect gum diseases in their early stages, it is more likely that we can be able to reverse gum disease.

Contact Us today to schedule your appointment for periodontal guidance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get Every Single Answer About The Treatment

1. What do I do if I think I have gum disease?

If you find any severe pain or discomfort or tooth discoloration, immediately consult the dentist near you. The dentist examines the ‘cuff’ around each tooth. If there found any signs, it can be concluded as the initial level of gingivitis. Sometimes, you may also need a scan to detect internal infections.

2. How do I know if I have gum disease?

The first sign is bleeding in the gums. You will notice the bleeding during brushing n flossing. Sometimes, you may feel unpleasant breathing.

3. Does periodontal disease re-occur?

For periodontal disease, there is no cure. It is just controllable from further spreading. As long as you keep up the oral hygiene and follow the proper care steps, you will have the least chance of recurrence.

4. Many say that gum disease is linked with other health conditions – is this true?

In recent years, this is the most worrying aspect of gum diseases. These are linked to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and dementia. But there are researches ongoing that make up the actual reason for this unexpected interlinking among each of these.

5. Is gum disease contagious?

Most of the causes of gingivitis and periodontal diseases are confined to the individual. But there is limited evidence that these are contagious among parents and children if the bacteria gets transmitted.