What is gum disease?

At The Practice dental clinic we offer a range of treatments to help you take care of your oral health. From general dentistry, to cosmetic dentistry and dento-facial aesthetics, our team of South Brisbane dentists have years of experience looking after the oral health of the whole family.

One common condition we come across here at our dental practice is gum disease. It’s prevalent mainly in adults and if left untreated can cause serious damage. 

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is a serious condition. It is caused by a buildup of plaque, a substance that contains bacteria and affects the health of the gums and the bones that support the teeth. 

Early stages of gum disease

The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and the first signs are bad breath, painful chewing, red or swollen gums, a metallic taste in your mouth and sensitive teeth. During the early stages of gum disease it can be reversed with proper dental hygiene and oral health. 

When gingivitis is left untreated and is in the advanced stage of periodontitis, it can cause other problems such as bone damage and tooth loss. It can even lead to other health issues like strokes, diabetes and heart disease. 

Risk factors for gum disease

There are many risk factors for gum disease, including: 

  • Smoking.
  • Drug use. 
  • Unhealthy diet.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Certain medical conditions including diabetes, HIV.
  • Age.
  • Medications.
  • Changes in hormones. 
  • Genetics. 
  • Pregnancy.
  • Puberty.

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How to prevent gum disease

One of the best ways to prevent gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth and along your gums at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, in the morning and at night. Our dentists also recommend a good flossing routine, or the use of interdental brushes to clean between your teeth. 

Six monthly visits to your dentist will ensure your teeth are kept in great condition and frequent cleans will help prevent the buildup of plaque which causes gum disease. Using a mouthwash can also help to kill bacteria living in the mouth. 

Stopping smoking and reducing your intake of food and drink high in sugar will also help prevent gum disease. We recommend drinking lots of water and if you have diabetes always try and keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range. 

How do dentists treat gum disease? 

If you are experiencing the above symptoms and think you have gum disease, we recommend booking an appointment with one of our West End dentists as soon as possible. 

At your appointment our dentist will carry out a diagnosis, and if you have gum disease, create a suitable treatment plan. As mentioned previously, gingivitis can be reversed, however periodontitis can only be managed. 

Both non-surgical and surgical treatment is available to manage periodontal disease. 


Non-surgical treatment for gum disease includes establishing a good oral care routine and a deep clean at your dental clinic, which may be carried out with anaesthetic. 


For more serious cases of gum disease, periodontal surgery may be required. Periodontal surgery aims to remove the gaps between teeth that are caused by bone loss. The surgeon will access the infected tissue by folding it back, removing it and any plaque or bacteria below the gum line. The surgeon will use dissolvable stitches. You’ll need a follow up appointment within approximately one week to assess the healing. 

Worried you have gum disease? Good dental hygiene and regular check-ups at your dentist are vital. Contact the experienced dental team at The Practice, West End, South Brisbane and we’ll help you get on top of your periodontitis. Call us on 07 3733 3223 or book an appointment online to schedule your next visit. 

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