Must-Knows About Gum Disease

Gum disease is a very common dental problem in the United States. This infection affects the tooth and its gums. You may also know gum disease as gingivitis or periodontitis. In this article, Dr. Dave, a dentist in Easton, PA, discusses some must-knows about gum disease. 

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

So, is there a difference between gingivitis and periodontitis? For starters, gingivitis develops prior to periodontitis. It normally refers to gum inflammation, whereas periodontitis is gum disease with tissue, bone, or both death.

Gingivitis occurs when bacterial plaque accumulates on the tooth’s surface, causing the gums to turn red and inflamed. One of the first signs of gingivitis is bleeding after brushing. The gums are inflamed and irritated, but the teeth are not yet loose. There is no permanent damage to the bone or underlying tissue at this stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is likely to progress to periodontitis if left untreated, says Dr. Dave Moghadam. 

Periodontitis occurs when the gums and bone pull away from the teeth, resulting in large pockets. Debris accumulates in the spaces between the gums and the teeth, infecting the area.

When plaque extends below the gum line into the pockets, the immune system kills bacteria. Because of the toxins released by the bacteria, the bone and connective tissue that hold the tooth begin to deteriorate. Teeth become brittle and can fall out. 


  • The teeth become longer as the gums recede. Gaps between the teeth are also possible.
  • gums that are inflamed or swollen, as well as recurring swelling in the gums bright red, often purple gums
  • pain when the gums are touched receding gums that cause the teeth to appear longer extra spaces appearing between the teeth
  • pus in the space between the teeth and the gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing teeth, a metallic taste in the mouth, halitosis (bad breath), loose teeth
  • Since the teeth do not match as well as they used to, the individual can complain that their “bite” feels different.

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a direct result of poor oral hygiene. The built-up dental plaque deteriorates the enamel on your teeth. Once it hardens, it turns into tartar, also known as calculus. Our friend, Dr. Ryan Helgerson, a dentist in Grand Junction, CO, agrees that tartar is more difficult to remove than plaque and can only be removed by your dentist. Plaque can damage teeth and surrounding tissue gradually and slowly. If gingivitis is not treated, pockets between the teeth and gums may form. Bacteria accumulate in these pockets, causing serious dental problems

Bacterial toxins, in conjunction with the immune system’s response to infection, begin damaging the bone and connective tissue that keep teeth in place. The teeth will eventually become loose and can fall out. A fully interactive 3D model of periodontal disease is shown below. To learn more about periodontal disease, use your mouse pad or touchscreen to explore the model.

Risk Factors of Gum Disease

Gum disease is more likely to occur in people experiencing the following:

  • Smokers. Daily smokers are more likely to develop gum disease. Smoking also reduces the effectiveness of therapy. Smokers account for 90% of cases that do not respond to treatment.
  • Hormones. Hormonal changes arise during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. These modifications increase the likelihood of contracting gum disease.
  • Diabetics. People with diabetes have a higher prevalence of gum disease than people of the same age.
  • Aids. Gum disease is more common in AIDS patients.
  • Cancer. and certain cancer therapies may increase the likelihood of gum disease.
  • Medication. Antihypertensive drugs or vasodilating agents (which relax and dilate blood vessels), immunotherapy drugs, and medicines that suppress saliva may also raise the risk of gum disease.
  • Genetics. Certain individuals are predisposed to gum disease due to inherited characteristics.

Diagnosing Gum Disease

Now that we’ve discussed the must-knows about gum disease, you have a better understanding of the severity of the problem. If you’re experiencing any of the above signs, contact your emergency dentist in Easton, PA. Gum disease and periodontitis can be detrimental to your oral health. Dr. Dave will be happy to examine your smile. Call College Hill Dental Group today to schedule a full-mouth evaluation.