Discover the Secret to Healthy Teeth: Periodontitis Treatment 101!

secret of healthy teeth

Have you ever noticed your gums bleeding after brushing or flossing? If so, you may be one of the many Australians who suffer from periodontitis, a serious gum infection that can lead to tooth loss. But don’t worry, periodontitis is a treatable condition. You can keep your gums healthy and your teeth strong with the right treatment.

What Is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is a chronic gum infection that affects the tissues that support your teeth. It is caused by plaque buildup, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed regularly, it can harden into tartar, which is even more difficult to remove. Over time, plaque, and tartar can irritate and inflame your gums, causing them to pull away from your teeth. This creates pockets of space where more bacteria can collect, leading to further inflammation and infection.

How Does Periodontal Disease Develop?

The origin of periodontitis lies in a sticky film of bacteria known as plaque. This uninvited guest, when not regularly evicted through brushing and flossing, hardens into tartar, a stubborn deposit that clings to teeth like a determined barnacle. Over time, this plaque and tartar duo unleash a barrage of toxins, triggering inflammation in the gums, the soft tissues that anchor our teeth.

What Are The Symptoms Of Gum Disease?

Several periodontal symptoms can indicate the presence of gum disease. These include:

      • Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing.

      • Red, swollen, or sensitive gums.

      • Receding gums.

      • Loose teeth.

      • Bad breath.

      • Changes in the way your teeth fit together.

      • Pus between the teeth and gums.

    When Do You Need Periodontal Treatment?

    Periodontal disease therapy becomes necessary when the condition progresses beyond mild gingivitis to more severe stages. If your gums bleed regularly, appear inflamed, or you experience persistent bad breath, it’s time to consult with a dental professional. Early intervention can prevent further damage and improve the chances of successful treatment.

    Gum Disease Can Impact Overall Health

    Gum disease has been associated with several other health problems, including:

        • Heart disease: Studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

        • Diabetes: Gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

        • Pregnant women: Gum disease can increase the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.

        • Alzheimer’s disease: Some research suggests that gum disease may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

      Preventing Gum Disease: A Guide to Maintaining Oral Health

      How to Prevent Gum Disease

      Several preventive measures can help maintain healthy gums and prevent the onset of gum disease:

          1. Regular Brushing and Flossing: Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste is essential for removing plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums. Flossing once a day helps clean the areas between the teeth, where brushing alone cannot reach.

          1. Mouthwash: Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash can further reduce bacteria levels and prevent plaque buildup.

          1. Regular Dental Checkups: Scheduling regular dental visits for professional cleanings and checkups allows your dentist to detect early signs of gum disease and provide timely treatment.

          1. Healthy Diet: A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides essential nutrients for gum health. Limiting sugary foods and drinks can help reduce the risk of plaque formation.

          1. Smoking Cessation: Smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease. Quitting smoking can significantly improve gum and oral health.

        Causes of Gum Disease

        The primary cause of gum disease is the buildup of plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Other factors that can increase the risk of gum disease include:

            1. Genetics: Some individuals have a genetic predisposition to developing gum disease.

            1. Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque to accumulate and contribute to gum disease.

            1. Dry Mouth: Conditions that reduce saliva production, such as Sjögren’s syndrome or certain medications, can make it easier for plaque to form and increase the risk of gum disease.

            1. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause can make gums more susceptible to infection.

            1. Stress: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult for the body to fight off infections, including gum disease.

          Types of Gum Disease

          There are two main types of gum disease:

              1. Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, characterised by inflammation and redness of the gums. It is usually reversible with proper oral hygiene practices.

              1. Periodontitis: Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease that affects the supporting structures of the teeth, including the gums and bones. It can lead to tooth loss if not treated promptly.

            Stages of Gum Disease

            Gum disease progresses through several stages:

                1. Gingivitis: Gingivitis is the initial stage, characterised by inflammation and bleeding of the gums.

                1. Early Periodontitis: In early periodontitis, the gums begin to recede, creating pockets between the teeth and gums.

                1. Moderate Periodontitis: Moderate periodontitis involves deeper gum pockets, bone loss, and loose teeth.

                1. Advanced Periodontitis: Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage, characterised by significant bone loss, loose teeth, and possible tooth loss.

              What Treatment Options Are Available?

                Root Scaling and Planing

                Root scaling and planing, also known as deep cleaning, is a non-surgical dental procedure that removes plaque and tartar from below the gum line. It is a common treatment for gingivitis and early periodontitis.

                How it works:

                During root scaling and planing, your dentist will use ultrasonic or manual instruments to remove plaque and tartar from the roots of your teeth. They will also smooth out the roots’ surfaces, making it more difficult for plaque and tartar to build up again.


                Root scaling and planing can help to:

                    • Reduce inflammation and bleeding from the gums

                    • Stop the progression of gum disease

                    • Prevent tooth loss

                    • Improve your overall oral health


                  Most people experience no downtime after root scaling and planing. However, your gums may be slightly sore and sensitive for a few days. You may also notice some bleeding during brushing and flossing. This is normal and should subside within a few days.

                    Gum Graft

                    gum graft is a surgical procedure that replaces lost gum tissue. It is often used to treat advanced gum disease.

                    How it works:

                    During a gum graft, your dentist will take a small piece of tissue from another part of your mouth, such as the roof of your mouth, and attach it to the area where gum tissue is missing. A bandage will then cover the grafted tissue to help it heal.


                    A gum graft can help to:

                        • Cover exposed tooth roots

                        • Prevent further gum recession

                        • Improve the appearance of your smile


                      Most people experience some discomfort and swelling after a gum graft. You may also have some bleeding and bruising. Your dentist will prescribe pain medication to help you manage your discomfort. You should avoid strenuous activity for a few days after the procedure.

                        Bone Graft

                        A bone graft is a surgical procedure that replaces lost bone tissue. It is often used to treat advanced periodontitis and to prepare the jawbone for dental implants.

                        How it works:

                        During a bone graft, your dentist will take bone tissue from another part of your body, such as your hip or shin, and graft it to the area where bone tissue is missing. A membrane will then cover the grafted bone tissue to help it heal.


                        A bone graft can help to:

                            • Replace lost bone support for your teeth

                            • Prevent further bone loss

                            • Allow for the placement of dental implants


                          Most people experience some discomfort and swelling after a bone graft. You may also have some bleeding and bruising. Your dentist will prescribe pain medication to help you manage your discomfort. You should avoid strenuous activity for several weeks after the procedure.


                          Gum disease is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss and other health problems. However, it is a treatable condition. With proper treatment and prevention, you can keep your gums healthy and your teeth strong. If you are concerned about gum disease, please see your dentist for a checkup.

                          Frequently Asked Question

                          The urgency to address gum periodontal disease is paramount. While early intervention is ideal, seeking treatment is never too late. However, if left untreated, gum disease can progress to irreversible stages. Timely action significantly improves the chances of successful gum disease treatment.

                          Yes, teeth can be saved with prompt and effective gum disease treatment. Dental professionals employ various strategies, such as dental scaling and root planing, to halt the progression of gum disease. The key is early detection and swift intervention to preserve oral health and natural teeth.

                          Curing periodontal disease involves a comprehensive approach. Gum disease treatment is pivotal, including professional cleaning, scaling, and root planing. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home and regular dental check-ups contribute to successful management and potential cure.

                          Efficient oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and antimicrobial mouthwash use, are effective in killing periodontal bacteria. Professional dental cleanings further target and eliminate bacteria, reducing the risk of gum disease and promoting oral health.

                          While gum recession due to periodontitis is often irreversible, effective gum disease treatment can halt further recession. Strategies such as gum graft surgery may be employed to address existing recession and enhance the smile’s aesthetics.

                          Understanding the nuances of gum periodontal disease is crucial. Timely intervention, appropriate gum disease treatment, and diligent oral care are essential to preserving oral health and preventing irreversible consequences.

                          Dr Leo Liu - profile photo

                          Dr Leo Liu

                          Dr Leo Liu is a registered Periodontist in Australia and New Zealand, specialising in periodontology and dental implant surgeries. Dr Liu holds a Master of Dental Surgery in Periodontology from the University of Hong Kong, as well as Speciality Memberships in Periodontics from the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. With extensive experience as a private practitioner and honorary clinical assistant professor, Dr Liu excels in evidence-based periodontal tissue regeneration, complex bone augmentation and dental implants. He actively engages with international organisations and is fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin. Dr Liu practices at the Gum & Dental Implant Centre, serving the Illawarra community.