How to Get Rid of Gum Disease

How to Treat Gum Disease - Consistent brushing routine: Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time has a huge impact on your chances of getting gum disease

How to Teat Gum Disease

In this article, you will learn how to treat gum disease. What is gum disease? Gum disease is caused by plaque bacteria that builds up around, on and in between your teeth. If this bacteria is not removed by regular brushing and flossing it can irritate gums, leading to red, swollen and bleeding gums, which are all symptoms of gum disease, known as gingivitis

If these signs of gum disease are left untreated, small ‘pockets’ may develop between teeth and gums. As these pockets deepen it can eventually lead to periodontitis, which is one of the most serious types of gum disease. Once you reach this stage of gum disease, damage may have occurred, and if left untreated can lead to tooth loss.

This is why it is so important to find an effective gum disease treatment at the early gingivitis stages, to keep your gums healthy.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a silent disease. This is because it doesn’t typically cause pain, so you may never you know you have it.

Gum disease is caused by plaque, which is basically bacteria. This is how gum disease develops:

  1. When you don’t clean around your teeth optimally, bacteria and food debris start to accumulate.
  2. As times goes on, the bacteria build up further and mature into more complex organisms, forming more advanced structures.
  3. The body’s natural defence mechanism detects there is bacteria trying to invade the body. It kicks off the inflammation reaction to recruit molecules to fight off the bacteria.
  4. This results in the body rushing lots of blood to the gums to fight off the infection, causing gums to become puffy, red and swollen. In addition to this, the gum moves away from the tooth to try and get away from the bacteria and this results in a ‘pocket’. This pocket is dead space that allows bacteria to move underneath the gum and occupy the space there. As you can’t clean underneath the gum, the bacteria stay there, multiplying and causing issues.
  5. Imagine the body’s immune system fighting against the bacteria as a kind of war, with the warzone being around the gums. Well, on top of killing the bacteria and neutralising them, the fighting results in some ‘friendly fire’ and some of the gum tissue is destroyed. The fibres that help support the teeth, the gums, and the bone that holds the teeth, all slowly begin to get destroyed.
  6. The more bone that is lost, the looser the tooth becomes. You end up losing the tooth.

Check if you have gum disease

Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth, floss or eat hard foods such as apples
  • your gums becoming swollen, red and sore

Gum disease can lead to:

  • bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth
  • your gums shrinking
  • your teeth becoming loose or falling out

How common is gum disease?

Gum disease is very common. In fact, it’s one of the most common diseases to affect humans in the world. One recent, thorough study concluded that 47% of the USA’s population had some degree of gum disease. The study found that 30% had moderate gum disease and 8% had severe periodontal diseases.

Signs of Gum Disease

Here are some of the most common signs of gum disease. Do be aware that some of these signs may only become apparent towards the later stages:

Bleeding gums

Bleeding gums: Healthy gums are not supposed to bleed. When there is blood, it means there is inflammation going on which almost certainly means there is some sort of destruction of the gums. Generally, you will always have signs of bleeding if you have gum disease. However, it may not be as noticeable if you’re not brushing around the gums, as it might not happen. Try flossing as this will show you if they really do bleed. Also remember that smoking causes a reduction in blood supply to the gums so bleeding may not be as apparent if you smoke.

Bad breath

Bad breath: Gum disease is the number one cause of bad breath. There’ll be a large amount of nasty bacteria that sit on your teeth, which will cause volatile sulphur compounds to be excreted – this really is foul smelling.

Loose teeth

Loose teeth: This only happens in the late stages of gum disease and if you have noticed this, get to your dentist right away to stop your teeth getting any looser.

Drifting of teeth

Drifting of teeth: Gum disease will break down the supporting structures of the teeth which then allows them to move freely. The teeth will generally want to flare out which causes gaps in your smile, along with teeth that stick out.

Gum recession

Gum recession: The gums will shrink away, exposing the root surface of your teeth. This is unsightly and can lead to sensitive teeth that are more prone to decay and erosion.

Gum abscesses

Gum abscesses: Again, this only really happens if you have severe gum disease. Abscesses can cause pain and if they spread, they can cause widespread issues for not only your mouth, but the whole body.

Complications of Gum Disease

Most of the common complications are mentioned above, however the biggest issue is that gum disease will ultimately lead to tooth loss, which can then have profound implications for your quality of life. Once you lose teeth, you’ll realise how important they are for eating, speaking and cosmetics.

Your mouth is the gateway to your body. The bacteria in the mouth can infect your blood stream and cause big problems around your whole body. The presence of periodontal disease can be associated with strokes, heart attacks, premature births, kidney disease, diabetes and joint complications.

There is recent evidence emerging that shows a link with Alzheimer’s as well. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that patients who maintain their gum health can improve their blood sugar levels, thereby helping to treat diabetic conditions.

Please note that gum disease is not contagious.

So how do I Cure Gum Disease?

Gum disease can be cured. Essentially, it’s all about removing bacteria from your mouth and allowing the gums to heal back to a healthy state. If you want to get rid of gum disease, the first step is to get the right education so that you know how to clean your teeth effectively at home.

 A homecare regime we normally recommend is:

1. Brushing twice a day with an electric toothbrush

Brushing twice a day with an electric toothbrush. You must use the toothbrush in a specific way – it’s amazing how many people get this wrong. We always ask them to show us how they brush their teeth and invariably they have poor technique. People use the electric toothbrush just like their manual one and this simply doesn’t work. The other thing to remember is that you must change the head every three months. Anything longer than this, and it becomes less effective.

2. Clean in between your teeth

This is an essential area that many people forget about. Aim to use interproximal brushes at least once daily and ensure you are using the correct size. It’s a common error to use brushes that are too small, which means you’re not cleaning effectively. Your dentist or hygienist will tell you which the correct size is to use. As a rule of thumb, choose the biggest one you can get between the gap without the middle metal part touching the teeth.

Please remember this is generic advice. It’s important to get specific advice for your mouth because everyone is different.

Homecare is probably the single most important thing you can do to help cure your gum disease. The hygienist/dentist can’t clean your teeth daily so it’s up to you to maintain good oral hygiene.

The second most important aspect is to get your teeth cleaned professionally. The gum disease must be diagnosed correctly, as there are many different types, and a plan of action must be created. As you can’t clean underneath the pockets (as explained above), you will need professionals to clean them for you.

For advanced gum disease

This is what we normally do:

  1. Record pocketing levels six points around each tooth.
  2. Record plaque levels and bleeding levels.
  3. Clean underneath the gums.
  4. Wait for a period of time to allow the gums to heal. In this period regular maintenance is needed, which involves lightly cleaning above the gum.
  5. We record points one and two again to see the difference.
  6. We clean underneath the gums once more at the sites that haven’t healed.
  7. Wait a few months to check healing.

Once the pocket depths have improved and you are able to maintain this at home, we would put you on a recall interval which will depend upon your risk factor. 

  • High – three months
  • Medium – six months
  • Low – possibly yearly

How do I cure gum disease at home?

As mentioned above, homecare is essential. You will need to use small brushes (interproximal brushes) to clean in between your teeth daily, along with adopting good tooth brushing habits. Unfortunately, once you have gum disease, it’s impossible to clean all the areas that are infected and you will need to go to a professional such as a hygienist or dentist.

Treatments for gum disease

Your dentist will check your teeth and gums, and may take some X-rays to check your teeth and jaw bone. They may also refer you to a specialist for further tests and treatment. How gum disease is treated depends on how severe it is.

In the early stages, your dentist will:

  • give you advice about keeping your teeth clean, such as using interdental brushes
  • advise you to stop smoking, if you smoke
  • advise you to get your teeth cleaned by a hygienist

If your gum disease is serious, you may need:

  • to have deep cleaning under the gums
  • antibiotics
  • to have some teeth removed
  • gum surgery

Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Smoking – this is such an important risk factor. If it applies to you, you must consider giving up altogether or at least cut down. The more you smoke, the worse it is for your gums and it will impact how successful the gum treatment will be.

Diabetes – your blood sugar levels need to be controlled well. If they are not, you will be at a higher risk of problems associated with your gums.

Who is the ideal person to treat Gum disease?

Normally a team approach, led by a periodontist (specialist gum doctor) is the best. A periodontist has been specially trained to treat patients who suffer from gum disease. The treatment will be prescribed and dictated by the specialist and they should work closely with a team of hygienists. This is the best method.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. It’s typically caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque—a sticky film of bacteria—to build up on the teeth and harden.

Types of Gum Disease

When discovered in its earliest stages gum disease can be reversed, but as it progresses that is not so. Left untreated gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, can advance to periodontitis and eventually lead to tooth loss and other more serious health problems.

Although all patients need to know is that they have gum disease and how to treat it, knowledge is power, and it may help to know there are several different types of periodontal disease which are listed below.

1. Gingivitis

Gingivitis: Healthy gums are pink and firm. If your gums are red, swollen, bleed easily, or sore, you may have gingivitis, the mildest form of periodontal disease. Usually caused by a lack of oral hygiene, gingivitis is gum disease at its reversible stage. By seeking professional treatment and performing proper oral home care, your gums can be reinstated to health.

2. Periodontitis

Periodontitis is advance gum disease. It not only affects your gum tissue, it spreads below the gum line, affects your teeth, and deteriorates your jawbone leading to tooth loss and jawbone atrophy. Symptoms include chronic bad breath, receding gums, and gingival pockets which may contain pus as a result of infection.

3. Aggressive periodontitis

Aggressive periodontitis: This is the rapid progression of periodontitis. Gingival tissue, gingival ligaments (which hold your teeth in place), and bone destruction progress at an advanced pace.

4. Chronic periodontitis

Chronic periodontitis: Describes inflammation of the supporting gingival tissues of the teeth and bone loss. This is the most common form and is characterized by gum recession and gingival pockets. Deterioration usually occurs slowly.

5. Systemic periodontitis

Systemic periodontitis: Is the development of gum disease due to systemic disease, systemic conditions can include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease

6. Necrotizing periodontal disease

Necrotizing periodontal disease: This type of gum disease occurs most commonly in people suffering from systemic diseases including malnutrition, immunosuppression, and HIV. Necrosis is the death of living tissue meaning the gingival tissue, periodontal ligaments, and alveolar bone are not eaten away by disease, but are deprived of the nourishment they need to remain healthy.

4 Stages of Gum Disease

Healthy gums are firm to the touch. They don’t bleed or swell. But periodontal disease can cause discolored (reddish or purplish), swollen, bleeding gums. Left untreated, gum disease can cause destruction of your underlying jawbone, leading to possible tooth loss.

The breakdown of tissues around your teeth happens gradually. In fact, most people don’t experience pain with gum disease — especially during the early stages. So, it’s important to know the warning signs.

There are four stages of gum disease:

  1. Gingivitis. This is the earliest stage of gum disease. It starts with red, puffy gums that may bleed when you brush or floss. At this stage, there’s no bone loss. As a result, gingivitis is totally reversible with proper treatment.
  2. Mild periodontitis. The bacteria have seeped beneath your gums, affecting the supporting bone. Your gums may pull away from your teeth, creating pockets around them. Plaque and bacteria like to hide in these pockets, where your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.
  3. Moderate periodontitis. Left untreated, bacteria begin to erode the ligaments, soft tissues and bone that hold your teeth in place. You may notice bad breath and pus (infection) around your gum line. Some people develop pain at this stage.
  4. Advanced periodontitis. As periodontal disease worsens, bone loss continues. This can cause your teeth to become loose and eventually fall out.

When treated early enough, gum disease is reversible. But if you’ve already lost bone around your teeth due to infection, the disease is too advanced to reverse. However, you can manage it with proper treatment and consistent, diligent oral hygiene.

What’s the difference between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

Gingivitis (gum inflammation) usually happens before periodontitis (gum disease). But not all gingivitis leads to periodontitis. Most people get gingivitis at some point in their lives, and its mild symptoms make it easy to ignore. But without treatment, it can turn into bigger problems for your mouth. The good news is that you can prevent or even reverse it by simply brushing your teeth, flossing, and having regular dental cleanings and checkups.


In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causing the gums to become inflamed and to easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.

When you forget to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash, a sticky film of bacteria and food called plaque builds up around your teeth. The gunk releases acids that attack your teeth’s outer shell, called enamel, and cause decay. After 72 hours, plaque hardens into tartar, which forms along the gum line and makes it hard to clean your teeth and gums completely. Over time, this buildup irritates and inflames your gums, causing gingivitis.


In a person with periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.

Toxins or poisons — produced by the bacteria in plaque as well as the body’s “good” enzymes involved in fighting infections — start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, they become loose, and tooth loss occurs. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

How to Prevent Gum Disease

The trick is to maintain a good level of hygiene on a daily basis. Refrain from smoking and ensure you see a good hygienist on a regular basis (ideally at least every six months).

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing regularly to remove plaque from between teeth. Or, you can use a device such as an interdental (between-the-teeth) brush , a wooden or plastic pick, or a “water flosser” recommended by a dental professional.
  • Visiting the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning.
  • Quitting smoking.

How to Cure Gum Disease without a Dentist?

Consistent brushing routine: Brushing twice a day for two minutes each time has a huge impact on your chances of getting gum disease. If you already have the early signs, there are a variety of effective toothpastes that can give you a helping hand. Don’t forget to floss either!

Can Gum Disease Kill you?

While gum disease itself is not usually lethal, it is associated with serious health complications that could potentially increase the risk of death. These complications include certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, systemic infections, and chronic inflammation.

Is Gum Disease Curable?

Gum disease isn’t curable, but it’s manageable with appropriate treatment. You can’t cure it because once you lose structural support around your teeth, you don’t usually get all of it back. However, periodontal treatment can reduce infection and rebuild your bone and tissue to some degree. Another factor is genetics.