Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis)

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Gum problems such as gingivitis and periodontal disease are extremely common, and affect most people at some point in their lives, becoming more prevalent with age.


  • Gingivitis is early stage gum disease, and involves a band of red, inflamed gingiva (gum tissue) around one or more teeth. The gums tend to be swollen and to bleed easily (for example, after brushing the teeth).
  • In periodontitis, swelling and inflammation become more severe and the disease progresses to tissues below the gum margins, including the covering of the root of the tooth, the ligaments that connect the roots to the bone, and the bones themselves.
  • In addition to swollen and bleeding gums, symptoms of periodontitis may include receding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, and a bad taste in the mouth. The underlying bone is sometimes destroyed.
  • Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.


Gum disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque on the tooth surface at the junction between the tooth and the gum. The plaque hardens to form tartar, or calculus, on the teeth, and as it thickens, the gums start to recede, allowing pockets to form below the gum margin. As the condition progresses, the tissues below the gum margin become more susceptible to disease and destruction.

In addition to poor dental hygiene, other factors that may contribute to the development of gingivitis and gum disease include:

  • Improper brushing technique  
  • Poorly fitting fillings and dental prostheses 
  • Smoking, which significantly increases the risk of gum disease   
  • Chronic ill-health (e.g. gum disease may be a symptom of coeliac disease, HIV/AIDS or cancer)
  • Genetic factors 
  • Hormonal changes (e.g. menopause, pregnancy and puberty) 
  • Stress 
  • Some prescribed medicines (including some heart drugs and antibiotics) 
  • Tooth grinding 
  • Diabetes (due to an increased risk of infection)  
  • Excessive consumption of sugar or alcohol  
  • Deficiency of key nutrients, including vitamins A, C and folic acid, and the minerals zinc, iron and calcium.

Diet and lifestyle

  • See your dentist if your teeth are loose or your gums are swollen or bleeding, as well as for regular check-ups and professional tooth cleaning.
  • In some cases, the only treatment necessary is improved dental hygiene, but if infection or tissue destruction is present, antibiotics and specialist dental treatment may be required, sometimes including surgery.
  • Brush your teeth after each meal or snack with a soft, small-headed toothbrush. Pay particular attention to the junction of the gum and the teeth – even at times when the gums are bleeding and sensitive.
  • Use dental floss daily too. It helps prevent the build up of plaque.
  • Mouthwash may also help to prevent plaque. 
  • Stop smoking.

Important notes

  • Gum disease can be associated with heart disease - make sure you have regular medical check-ups.
  • Consult your dentist if your gums bleed easily or regularly, or if you experience symptoms that may indicate the presence of infection, such as fever or pain.

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Hi there, I understand your concerns as I have had a similar experience with my daughter. I would love to advise you further please give me a call on 1800 803 760. Kind Regards Michelle Clarkin
Blackmores Advisory Team
Blackmores Advisory Team 17 Mar 2015
My daughter is special needs child who it totally peg fed and doesn't allow us to brush her teeth at all a while ago she had to go Into hospital to have her teeth cleaned but she had to be knocked out completely when she came around she was completely manic !! Is there any other way I can clean her teeth she is just so oral sensitive
Anonymous 07 Mar 2015
my dentist introduced me about 3 month ago to a device called silonite.At first i was skeptical ,my gums bled a lot and I had a gingivitis .I use it twice a day and after about month my gums stop bleeding and my swelling red gums became normal again,i really highly recommend it . I bought it for my mother as well and she loves it.
Anonymous 13 Mar 2013
Hi Eve, I would check with your dentist or oral hygienist with regards to finding out if gum disease can be reversed. With regards to the preventing bad breath, this would depend on the cause. The thing to look at first is oral hygiene. You really need to ensure your teeth are properly cleaned and that the tongue is brushed – there are special scrapers you can buy for this. Often the tongue is a trap for bacteria. Flossing will remove any food debris trapped between the teeth. Meat, for instance, can be trapped between the teeth and ferment, adding to bad breath.

Cigarette smoking and alcohol can also trigger bad breath – particularly when large amounts of alcohol are consumed the night before.

Good digestive health can also help prevent bad breath, this means having a good level of bacteria in the gut and bowel. We would see benefits in replacing good gut bacteria through the use of a probiotic supplement. This can often remedy bad breath.

The problem can also be tied in with bowel function. In other words, you may not be eliminating waste properly and your breath may be affected. To address constipation you should increase the amount of water you drink, increase your fibre intake, and of course, get more probiotics into your diet. Bitter lettuce greens can also be of help to your digestive system. All the best, and please don’t hesitate to email us at for any further info, Jen.

I also would like to no if Gum disease can some how be revered and what can I do about the bad breathe
Anonymous 15 Feb 2013
I would like to know if you believe periodontis can be reversed naturally without aggressive intervention.
Anonymous 14 Jan 2013