What Is Gum Disease and How Can You Prevent It?

Medical doctor drawing gum disease on the virtual screen.

Did you know that 47 percent of adults that are 30 years of age or older in the United States have some form of periodontal disease?

Gum disease is a widespread issue for people worldwide and can lead to major dental issues if not taken care of. Knowing the signs of gum disease is a huge part of keeping it from getting worse.

But what does gum disease look like? And who knows how to treat gum disease? The answers to these questions will keep your mouth healthy and happy.

Continue reading to learn more about gum disease and how you can prevent it.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a dental issue that is common in adults and children alike. It results from plaque buildup on your teeth. Plaque is a mixture of bacteria and sugar that sticks to your teeth.

Plaque gets in between teeth and becomes hard to reach or remove. When it isn’t cleaned thoroughly, the plaque buildup leads to infection and inflammation in your teeth and gums.

If left untreated, gum disease leads to a variety of dental issues. By taking measures to limit or cure gum disease, you’ll prevent gum recession and possibly even diabetes and heart disease.

There are a variety of factors that increase your odds of getting gum disease. They are:

  • Smoking and substance abuse
  • Chronic health problems and HIV
  • Hormonal instability
  • Diabetes and poor diet
  • Old age
  • High levels of stress

Paying special attention to your oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups is the best gum disease cure.

Stages of Gum Disease

There are multiple stages of gum disease that you’ll experience as it progresses. Knowing the signs of these stages is a great way to prevent the growth and progress of the periodontal disease.


Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease as well as the most common. The biggest cause of gingivitis is poor dental hygiene and care. Gingivitis can have no symptoms.

If there are signs, they’ll be in the form of red and puffy gums that bleed when flossing or brushing your teeth. Treating gingivitis is crucial to prevent the progress of gum disease and suffer worse symptoms.


Periodontitis is the next stage of gum disease after gingivitis. This stage occurs after the plaque buildup on your teeth reaches below your gumline. When this happens, the plaque releases toxins that inflame the gums.

From there, the gums begin to recede, and the gaps between your teeth begin increasing and deepen. This is a sign of this if you start to see your gums separating from your top or bottom teeth.

Once this begins, it leaves the door open for tooth infection and might also lead to losing teeth.

Advanced Periodontitis

The last and most severe stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. The symptoms of advanced periodontitis are similar to those of periodontitis. The teeth begin to loosen even more, and bone loss continues to grow.

Your gums will also continue to swell, and you might even develop a temperature sensitivity when eating or drinking.

How To Prevent Gum Disease

Knowing the signs of gum disease is great, but it is only the first step in preventing gum disease. There are steps that you need to take to keep your gums and teeth healthy.

Floss Regularly

You should floss at least one time per day. Flossing helps by removing food and plaque buildup on your teeth that are beyond the reach of your toothbrush.

It doesn’t matter if you floss during the morning or the night, but you must floss regularly to keep your mouth healthy.

Consistent Dental Cleanings

A great way to prevent gum disease is by going to your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist will be able to identify signs of gum disease early on to take preventative measures.

Taking these measures prevents gum disease from getting worse. Additionally, a tooth cleaning provided by a dentist is the only way to remove tartar from your teeth.

Tooth cleaning also removes any plaque buildup that you’ve missed with your toothbrush and flossing. Regular tooth cleaning is the best way to prevent gum disease and cure gingivitis.

Quit Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is one of the best preventative measures that you can take to prevent gum disease. Smoking is bad for gum disease because it weakens your immune system.

A weakened immune system makes it much more difficult to fight off infection. It also has the drawback of making the healing process difficult for your gums since the smoke damages them.

Brush Twice Daily

Another great way to fight gum disease is by brushing two times per day. Brushing your teeth helps remove the food and plaque that is on and in between your teeth.

You should also scrub your tongue with your toothbrush. Tongues are a great place for bacteria to hang out, so brushing your tongue is important for dental hygiene.

If possible, invest in an electric or battery-powered toothbrush. These types of toothbrushes have been shown to help fight gingivitis and remove more plaque than traditional toothbrushes.

Use Fluoride Toothpaste

Toothpaste also plays a big role in the battle with gum disease. There are many kinds of toothpaste that claim to fight gingivitis, but you should find a toothpaste containing fluoride for the best results.

You should also find a toothpaste that has the American Dental Association seal of approval.

Use Therapeutic Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwash is typically available as an over-the-counter option. It helps reduce plaque and reduces gingivitis. It also helps prevent the buildup of tartar on your teeth.

An additional benefit is that rinsing your mouth with therapeutic mouthwash removes debris from food. It is very effective at preventing gum disease when used with brushing your teeth and flossing regularly.

Start Fighting Gum Disease Today

Gum disease may not seem like much at first, but it leads to severe health issues down the road. The best way to fight it is to know the signs and symptoms and follow the steps to prevent it.

Regular brushing and flossing are vital to good dental hygiene. That should be complemented by regular visits to your dentist for teeth cleanings.

For more helpful Health and Lifestyle articles, be sure to explore our blog!


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