Gingivitis (gum disease) occurs when plaque, which is a mixture of bacteria, food particles and saliva, causes inflammation in the gums. When plaque hardens, it is known as calculus, and is so hard that it can no longer be removed by a toothbrush or floss. Gingivitis can be controlled by good oral hygiene (brushing twice a day and flossing daily) and through specialised care of a dentist or hygienist who can physically remove the plaque and calculus in hard-to-reach areas, like below the gums and inbetween the teeth.

If gingivitis is left unchecked, it becomes a more advanced form called "periodontitis" or periodontal disease. This condition results in bone loss around the natural teeth in addition to the symptoms of gingivitis. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, periodontal disease may result in the loss of some or all teeth.

Gingivitis - before and after treatment
Gingivitis before and after treatment
By Onetimeuseaccount (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Do I have gum disease or periodontitis?

Gum disease (gingivitis) affects over 95% of the population, but it is easily treatable and preventable. However, people who have not visited the dentist in some time should be concerned with whether they have periodontitis or not. Only a qualified practitioner can tell you whether you have gingivitis or periodontal disease and recommend the appropriate course of treatment. Bleeding gums are the first (but not only) signs that you need some form of treatment. Call us on (08) 9881 5573 or contact us via other methods now to book a consultation for a thorough assessment of your gums and teeth.

More information about gum disease