Gum Disease Explained Updated

If you’ve kept up to date with our blogs, you’d know that we have mentioned gum disease as a major issue that plenty of people can have. What is gum disease though? How does it start and what are the risks associated with gum disease?

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is an umbrella term used to describe the stages of periodontal (gum) disease that affect the gums, teeth, and surrounding bone. Gum disease starts through improper oral hygiene that causes inflammation of the gums. If the inflammation is left untreated, it can lead to more severe cases of gum infection.

Gingivitis – the first stage

Gingivitis is the first and least severe stage of gum disease. Caused by a buildup of plaque on the teeth that meets the gums that isn’t removed by proper hygiene, this buildup causes the gums to get irritated. Often showing as swollen, red and bleeding areas in the gums, there might not be any discomfort for the person who has gingivitis. Bleeding in the gums is a sign that something is wrong and should be investigated. 

With the combination of a thorough professional clean and regular maintenance at home, gingivitis is reversible with no long-term effects.


If gingivitis is left untreated and the inflammation not taken care of, this can progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria that lives in the plaque and calculus which in turn destroys the structure of gums and bone surrounding the teeth. As the bone level decreases, ‘pockets’ are created around the root of the tooth which holds more of the plaque. Without proper professional cleaning to keep these pockets clean, more and more bone and gum is lost around the teeth causing loose, painful teeth. The bone and gum loss that occurs is permanent and cannot be restored, this is why it is important for everyone to have regular 6 months checkup so this can be detected early and appropriate treatment carried out to prevent it getting worse. 

Periodontal charting  – an important part of gum disease assessment is which involves using a measuring probe to go around each tooth to check gum health and map out the “pocket” depth of the gum around the tooth. 

Regular check-ups with your dentist or hygienist are important, along with keeping a good level of oral hygiene at home to ensure that you remove the bacteria and prevent bone loss. 

If you are concerned about the health of your gums or teeth, give Koo Wee Rup Dental Surgery a call to book an appointment with our dental team or our hygienist to make sure your gums are healthy. Our dental team will give you a personalized treatment options specific for you and your needs.