Font Size

Periodontal (Gum) Disease (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care for Periodontal (Gum) Disease

A dentist provides major care for diseases of the teeth and gums.

A person should visit his or her dentist for the following concerns:

  • Gums start to bleed.
  • Gums are swollen and sore.
  • Bad-smelling breath or a bad taste develops in the mouth.
  • Gums become very red or very pale.
  • Teeth are painful.
  • Teeth are loose in their sockets.

If any of the above symptoms are present, plus fever, sweats, chills, or face swelling, go to a hospital's emergency department.

Other reasons to go to an emergency department include the following:

  • The tongue feels swollen or pushes up from the floor of the mouth.
  • Swelling develops below the chin, especially if it is red, tender, and warm.

Periodontal (Gum) Disease Diagnosis

During any routine dental examination, a dentist will do a periodontal exam of the gums.

  • The dentist may use a probe to measure the depth of the pocket between the teeth and the gums.
  • Special X-ray films may be used to evaluate the teeth, the bones supporting the teeth, and other mouth structures.
  • If periodontal disease is present, the dentist will make recommendations or refer the person to a specialist (periodontist).

Periodontal (Gum) Disease Home Remedies

Good oral hygiene prevents periodontal disease.

  • Brush the teeth at least twice every day. Brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer, and chewing surfaces of each tooth. A dental hygienist can demonstrate the proper technique.
  • Get a new toothbrush every three months or replace the head of electric brushes every three months or sooner based on wear from the indicator bristles. Some electric tooth brushes have been proven to reduce the risk of periodontal disease.
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and xylitol.
  • Floss every day. Flossing removes plaque between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach.
  • Use a mouthwash that kills bacteria.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet; avoid too many sweets and processed carbohydrates.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/31/2016
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Periodontal (Gum) Disease

Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Bad Breath (Halitosis) Bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by a variety of things including diet, medication, poor oral hygiene, and diseases or conditions such as diabetes, GERD, la...learn more >>
Dental Abscess
Dental Abscess Bacteria from a tooth cavity can cause a dental abscess, or infection of the mouth, jaw, or face. Symptoms include pain, swelling, facial redness, gum inflammat...learn more >>
Gingivitis Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. Gingivitis is caused by a bacterial infection of the gums. Symptoms may include pain, redness, ...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease):

Periodontal (Gum) Disease - Symptoms and Signs

What were your gum disease symptoms and signs?

Periodontal (Gum) Disease - Treatment

How was your periodontal disease treated?

Periodontal (Gum) Disease - Experience

Please describe your experience with periodontal (gum) disease.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Bacterial Mouth Infections »

The oral cavity contains some of the most varied and vast flora in the entire human body and is the main entrance for 2 systems vital to human function and physiology, the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary