Understanding Gum Disease


Dr Minesh Patel is passionate about educating people about good oral care. The more you look after your teeth the less likely you will get gum disease. Here is Dr Minesh Patel guide to preventing gum disease and how to treat it.

Periodontal disease, or gum disease as it is commonly called, is a group of diseases with the same end results; gingivitis, destruction of the periodontal ligament, loss of supporting bone and ultimately tooth loss. Nearly all people will develop gingivitis if there is absence of good oral hygiene. If left untreated, bone attachment loss tends to progress in bursts of activity rather than in a steady progression. It is more cyclical than linear, short periods of rapid disease progression are followed by longer periods of attempted recovery by the body and then once again by further breakdown.

Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

The first signs of gum disease usually begin with gingivitis; the gums appear red at the margins, slightly swollen and bleed when tooth brushing or flossing. It is often thought that brushing too hard causes bleeding gums however, bleeding from the gum tissues is not normal and should be taken as a warning sign. Bad breath and taste are also commonly related with gum disease. As the disease progresses the gum tissues begin to subside, this will expose root surfaces that may cause tooth sensitivity to temperature and pressure change. Gum tissues will lose their normally tight attachment to the tooth causing pocket formation. As pocket formation progresses, supporting bone loss may be noted around the teeth. Abscess formation, the collection of pus pockets denoted by pain, swelling and discharge from the gum tissues is an advance sign of disease. Ultimately looseness and drifting of teeth occur as bone is lost in more advanced stages of disease and may also be evident as eating becomes more uncomfortable.


Early gum disease can be detected by your dentist during regular dental check-ups. The dentist can evaluate the gum tissues, probe to determine whether the attachment levels to the teeth are abnormal, and evaluate bone health through dental x-rays.

If you have gum disease, all is not lost. Remember, your teeth were meant to last a life time. Early diagnosis and treatment of gum disease are also essential in keeping your teeth for life. While gum disease is treatable, vigilance is necessary to prevent reoccurrence: institute daily plaque removal through brushing and flossing as a part of your oral hygiene; seek treatment to quit smoking; and establish a regular schedule of dental cleanings and check-ups with a professional dentist like Dr. Minesh Patel.  In a nutshell, a familiar adage aptly describes your best defence against gum disease, “if you look after your teeth, they will look after you.”

Follow Dr Minesh Patel on Twitter here, learn more about Dr Minesh Patel here and read more Dr Minesh Patel blogs here.

You Might Also Like


  1. Thank you Dr Minesh Patel for this interesting post on gum disease!