What are gum diseases and how can they be prevented?

Oral health is crucial to our overall health. Unfortunately, many patients do not prioritise good oral hygiene and forget to visit the dentist regularly. Gingivitis and periodontitis can have serious consequences, leading to tooth loss and serious health complications. So what should you know about gum disease and how to prevent it? 

Marginal gingiva, gingiva proper, papilla

The periodontium is divided into the soft part, the gingiva, and the hard part, the alveolar (process) bone and root cementum.

The gingiva is part of the oral mucosa. We distinguish between the marginal gingiva (which surrounds the crowns in the cervical area), the attached gingiva (i.e. the gingiva proper) and the interdental gingiva, or papilla.

Periodontal disease can be caused by a variety of factors, both external and internal. External factors include parafunctions, malocclusion and plaque, among others. Internal factors include problems with the immune system, HIV, pregnancy, hyper- or hypothyroidism and other diseases.

Gum disease – what is it?

Gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition that can lead to damage to the soft tissues and bones that support the teeth. There are different types of gum disease, such as gingivitis – inflammation of the gums, and periodontitis – inflammation of the periodontium. Symptoms of gum disease may include red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums, exposed tooth necks, loosening of teeth.

Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums)

Gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums, is the initial phase of periodontal disease. It is characterised by redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums, especially during probing, brushing or flossing. It often does not cause pain, which can make early detection difficult. Gingival inflammation, unlike periodontitis, is reversible. However, if not treated properly and in a timely manner, it can lead to more serious periodontal diseases such as periodontitis, which can result in tooth loss.


Periodontitis is an inflammation of the periodontium that develops from untreated inflammation of the gums, such as gingivitis. In this case, the inflammation spreads below the gum line, leading to the formation of inflammatory pockets and the gradual destruction of the tissues and bone supporting the teeth. Symptoms of periodontitis include intense bleeding of the gums, soreness, bad breath and loose and displaced teeth. Without proper treatment, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and affect overall health, raising the risk of problems such as heart disease and diabetes.

Consequences of untreated gum disease

Untreated gum disease can lead to a number of serious health problems. Tooth loss, infections and even serious circulatory problems are possible. In addition, studies have shown a link between gum disease and other diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Prevention of gum disease

Gum disease can be prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene. This includes regular brushing, flossing and using mouthwash. Dental check-ups are also important. Regular consultations (at least once a year) help monitor periodontal health and detect any problems early. A healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet and avoidance of stimulants also contribute to the prevention of gum disease.

In summary, periodontal diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis are common health problems. Their effects can be serious, affecting not only oral health but also general health. It is therefore worth ensuring good oral hygiene, making regular visits to the dentist and keeping a healthy lifestyle to significantly reduce the risk of such diseases.