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Conditions

Gum Disease

Gum Disease

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Gum disease begins as a build-up of bacteria and waste products on your teeth that irritate your gums. The first stage of the condition is called gingivitis. When gingivitis is not treated it causes your gums to recede and allows further bacteria to become trapped. If no treatment is given, the tooth’s roots can become visible and it can begin to wobble and weaken, often resulting in the teeth needing to be removed. Generally, gum disease is caused by poor dental hygiene, but there are other factors that heighten your risk levels. These include smoking, diabetes and as a result of hormonal changes around pregnancy. Treatment is normally carried out by a dentist or hygienist and involves removing the built up plaque and tartar, but prevention through regular brushing and flossing is much more effective.

If you are worried about your child’s gums, check our condition guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids.

What the Men in White Coats Say

Comments and Questions

The EB doctors have been looking at your comments and have answered some of the common questions below. Remember that it is always best to check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.

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I am 36 and a year ago to my surprise a new dentist at my practice advised me i had peridontitis and that would eventually lose my teeth. I was horrified. I had been at said dentist for 5 years and there was never a mention of this before. My teeth have deteriorated rapidly and i am in severe pain everyday. My new dentist has ckeaned my teeth once and is of no use ro me. She keeps telling me its not that bad etc. However just in 3 months they have deteriorated even more. I havebeen waiting 6 months on an appointment at the hospital. I have gaps severe recession and discolouration. The anxiety alone is debilitating. Not to mention the pain. I kiterally feel like my teeth are rotting. I need help. My teeth were maybe my best feature and now i dont want to smile. I dont knoe what to do anymore. I have other health issues which make my life a nightmare but this has been the last straw and do not know what to do anymore





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I am 36 and a year ago to my surprise a new dentist at my practice advised me i had peridontitis and that would eventually lose my teeth. I was horrified. I had been at said dentist for 5 years and there was never a mention of this before. My teeth have deteriorated rapidly and i am in severe pain everyday. My new dentist has ckeaned my teeth once and is of no use ro me. She keeps telling me its not that bad etc. However just in 3 months they have deteriorated even more. I havebeen waiting 6 months on an appointment at the hospital. I have gaps severe recession and discolouration. The anxiety alone is debilitating. Not to mention the pain. I kiterally feel like my teeth are rotting. I need help. My teeth were maybe my best feature and now i dont want to smile. I dont knoe what to do anymore. I have other health issues which make my life a nightmare but this has been the last straw and do not know what to do anymore





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I am 38 years old and I am suffering really bad with my teeth. I have server gum disease and have had quite a few teeth removed. They are all moving so there are gaps everywhere and I don't like to smile as I hate them so much. I have been to my dentist and I have got to have another tooth out but he will not give me false teeth as he thinks I have not lost enough. I also grind my teeth really bad to the point I wake up as it hurts so much. I am at end of my tether as its getting me down.please help





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I'm a 30 year woman who is having really bad problems with my teeth, I've lost two teeth on my left side and it's causing the tooth begging to get inflamed every time I eat and I think it feel like it's wearing the good tooth out, my gums are inflamed too really bad around this tooth. On my right side there's a small gap in between two teeth that's hurts too, can someone help me know what to do because I'm in pain that even just brushing my teeth is painful.





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I'm a 26 year old female who is really suffering with my teeth. As a young child I had too much sugar which rotted all my baby teeth. At around 10 I had 6 baby teeth removed. From then on I got a fear of Dentists. I then found the courage to go back to dentist only for them to do a bad job on my teeth. My who life I've suffered immense pain, abscesses and lack of teeth and a really sore tongue. I've had a good dental hygiene in my adult years but only a few teeth left that are now falling apart. I only weight 7 stone and am struggling to eat. I just need a fresh start but i cannot afford the costs. Please please help me.





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I was told I had gum disease the last time I visited the dentist. I constantly have pain and inflammation of my gums when I have a flare up. I haven't any fillings and have looked after my teeth religiously. They were my pride and joy as everybody used to comment how nice my teeth were. I have quite a few health issues and take medication. Please help?





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Hi i am a 46 year old man with three top teeth and about eight on the bottom .i am in pain alot on and off. i went the dentist and she tried to take a tooth out and she could not get it out.I was put off going the dentist as she was digging for a while and could not get it out. I use to like singing when i was younger and people said i had a good voice,i am to embarrassed to smile or talk to people what can one do. Help i need some body help





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Hi I'm 47, I have had gum disease most of my life, taking all the advice from dentist, I've not had much luck with dentists, there in the process of doing another denture, that will be the 5th one, as they do not fit properly, they say if I want an implant it will cost me £2000 each, I'm so imbarressed, I don't go out if I can help it, wish someone our there could help me, I've had no luck as yet, thank you Elaine





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Hello I'm 18 year old woman and I have really bad gum disease I have have bad teeth I am really embarrassed by the look at my teeth every time I brush my gums bleed really bad what should I do I'm only young help me please





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Hi, I think I have gum disease due to smoking and poor hygiene. I am too affraid to go to the dentist & honestly ashamed too. A lot of my teeth are now broken or have holes. I cannot afford what the dentists are asking, can you help?





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Gingivitis (often referred to as gum disease) causes your gums to become red, inflamed and swollen. It can cause your gums to bleed when you brush your teeth. Read More »

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