Most people have heard of gum disease, but dentists know it as periodontal disease. It’s not just one disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology, but several with a common cause: bacteria in dental plaque. Let’s take a look at how it is caused and what to do to treat it.


The most common and well known form of gum disease is gingivitis. The condition involves the inflammation of the gingiva or gums surrounding the necks of the teeth, and is caused by plaque developing along the gumline. Symptoms include red and swollen gums, as well as gum bleeding, which can be seen on your toothbrush or at a dental exam. Often noticeable through bad breath, gingivitis can also be caused by a number of health conditions or medical changes in an individual. Hormone changes from puberty and pregnancy in the presence of bacterial plaque, for instance, will intensify the disease. Dentists call these forms of the disease “puberty gingivitis” and “pregnancy gingivitis.”

Teenagers need to maintain good oral hygiene and have professional cleanings twice a year to prevent gingivitis. Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease during pregnancy, so they should also be aware of the necessity for frequent cleanings during the pregnancy.

Prevention of Gingivitis

Fortunately, there is no bone loss around the teeth from the development of gingivitis, and it can be easily treated or prevented. A quality soft toothbrush, especially a battery-powered one, should be used twice a day to decrease the risk of developing gingivitis. Flossing will further reduce the chances of developing the disease, as will other common oral hygienic practices: mouth rinses, water picks and interproximal cleansing devices. The absolute best way to prevent gingivitis is to see a dentist or dental hygienist for a regular cleaning twice a year.

If it’s been a while since you have seen a dentist, we would be honored if you would let Dr. Ben Johnson at Johnson Family Dental in Paducah help you with your oral health.  Dr. Johnson has been a practicing dentist for over 10 years and would be glad to help you improve your oral health.  Give Johnson Family Dental in Paducah a call today at (270) 554-2432, stop by our office located at 2913 Lone Oak Rd, Paducah, KY or CLICK HERE to contact us today!