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Gum Disease

Gum Disease: What is it, symptoms, prevention and treatment | National Dental Centre Singapore

Gum Disease - What it is

Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums and the bone supporting the teeth. It can affect one tooth or several teeth. If left untreated, it may lead to the loss of tooth or teeth.

The main cause of gum disease is bacterial plaque. It is a sticky film, made up of bacterial and salivary protein, that accumulates on the surface of the teeth. The plaque causes ‘gingivitis’ which is an inflammation of the gums. The gums become red and puffy, and bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease which is reversible.

Left untreated, it can progress to a more advanced stage of gum disease called periodontitis. The gums start to separate from the teeth, allowing bacteria to form periodontal (gum) pockets which will destroy the underlying supporting structures (bone and connective tissue). The teeth may eventually become loose and need to be removed. The disease can occur at any age.

Diseased versus healthy gums - National Dental Centre Singapore

You may be more prone to gum disease if you have any of these risk factors:

  • Poorly controlled diabetes. This means that you are at a higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease.
  • A heavy smoker. Smoking is the most significant risk factor associated with the development of periodontitis.
  • Undergoing hormonal changes such as puberty or pregnancy in females.
  • Taking certain medications that may cause your gums to swell or overgrow (certain anti-hypertensive and immuno-suppressant drugs).
  • A lower immunity against infection due to HIV infection or if you are undergoing cancer treatments.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Genetic susceptibility to periodontal disease.

Gum Disease - Causes and Risk Factors

Gum Disease - Diagnosis

Gum Disease - Preparing for surgery

Gum Disease - Post-surgery care

Gum Disease - Other Information

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth