What is “Gum Disease?”

Gum disease is a disease which affects the gums, teeth and bone. It starts with inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) which can then progress into the bone which supports your teeth (periodontitis). The progression of this disease is painless and often untreated until irreversible damage has occurred. It is therefore vital we have regular check-ups with our dentist or oral health therapist.

Gum disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colourless film that continually forms on teeth. Some signs and symptoms can include:

  • Constant bad breath
  • Red, inflamed gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing
  • Gum recession
  • Visible film on tooth surface/around gum line.
  • Tooth mobility


As seen in the above diagram, gingivitis is shown as red and inflamed gums without any bone loss. As plaque (yellow semi circles around teeth) accumulates, the disease becomes more severe, resulting is resorption of the bone. If gum disease is left untreated, bone loss progresses and can result in tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss.

How can we prevent it? How is it treated?

Prevention of gum disease requires thorough oral hygiene (brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once daily) and regular check-ups with your dentist or oral health therapist. Treatment of gum disease requires deep cleaning from your dentist or oral health therapist. Once it is under control, regular maintenance is required.

Cleaning with braces can be more difficult. Therefore, there is a greater risk of gum disease. This is the reason that we, at Peninsula Orthodontics we stress the need for thorough brushing and excellent oral hygiene to all of our patients.

Lastly, studies show that there is an association between gum disease and your general health. So please, if you have any questions about oral hygiene, come and have a chat to one of our oral health therapists, we will be more than happy to help.