Three out of four adults will experience gum disease in their lifetime

Gum problems occur among adults and is more common among the elderly, diabetics, pregnant women, at some medication and smoking. Gum problems is due to plaque buildup at the gumline. Plaque is the bacteria that need to be removed regularly, otherwise they will harden into tartar which can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist. The incidence of gum disease is high, underlining the importance of recognizing the signs of early gum disease before it may progress to periodontitis and eventually lead to the destruction of bone and tooth loss.

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Gum disease is a major health problem as 60–80% of the population in industrialized countries suffer from gingivitis (bleeding gums) and 10–20% suffers from periodontitis (tooth loss)/WHO


Almost all gum disease is caused by bacterial plaque

Almost all gum disease is caused by bacterial plaque. Some bacteria in plaque release substances which may be irritating and toxic to the gum tissue resulting in a local inflammation in the gum tissue. The disease is progressive and often the patient does not experience symptoms until the teeth are loose and ready to be lost. Frequently the signs of gum disease cannot be seen just by looking in the mouth.

Symptoms of gum problems

Healthy gums are pink, firm and fit tightly to each tooth. Signs of gum problems are gums that are red, sore and bleeding, especially after brushing. Bad breath can also be a sign of gum problems. Ask your dentist or hygienist if you are unsure if you have gum problems.

Some signs of gum disease include:

  • Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Teeth that seem to be loose or have shifted position
  • Gum tissue that is red, swollen and/or bleeds easily (healthy tissue is pink, has an orange peel appearance and does not bleed)
  • Pus between teeth and gums (healthy gums are tight around the tooth and do not bleed)

Bacterial balance

Our body cooperates with bacteria and mouth are no exception. The oral cavity contains around 800 different species of bacteria and there are more than one billion bacteria on each tooth. Under normal conditions, these are in balance and protect you from illness, but when the balance among oral bacteria is disrupted due to inadequate oral hygiene, stress and poor diet can plaque forming bacteria gain the upper hand, causing gum problems.

Our important bacteria


Gingivitis and periodontitis

Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) is found in more than half of the adult population. Gingivitis is caused by dental plaque and the first signs are often irritated, swollen and bleeding gums. Gingivitis triggers an inflammatory process and if the inflammation is not treated it progresses deeper down in the gingival pockets and may lead to periodontitis, something that affects a third of all adults. Periodontitis is often chronic and may lead to loss of teeth.


How periodontitis develops

Plaque. Healthy gums are light pink in colour and are tight around each tooth. They do not bleed during brushing or flossing. A bacterial film known as dental plaque is formed continuously on and between the teeth and at the gum line. Plaque consists of microorganisms, salivary proteins, food and beverage residue, and can be formed in only one day. If you do not clean your teeth and gums regularly, the plaque collects and the gums become inflamed.

Gingivitis. One early sign of gingivitis is that the gums bleed during brushing or flossing. Inflamed gums can be red and tender, but are most often not painful and can therefore be difficult to detect on your own. The inflammation leads to the formation of a pocket between the tooth and gum.

Periodontitis. If gingivitis is not treated in time, there is a risk that it will spread to the bone and ligaments that support the teeth. The gum pockets caused by inflammation become deeper and the bacteria penetrate further down and gradually attack the bone. The tooth looses more and more of its attachment. Gingivitis has now progressed to periodontitis. The progression is slow and often takes place over several years without any apparent symptoms. Professional intervention is necessary to treat periodontitis, otherwise the process will continue and eventually lead to loosening and subsequent loss of teeth.



Both caries and periodontitis originate from a disturbance in the balance and diversity of the biofilm. Contributing causes may be poor oral hygiene, incorrect diet, stress and/or other factors which affect the oral microflora. Caries is mainly caused by the presence of the bacterium mutans streptococci, which creates a low local pH environment which in turn de-mineralizes enamel.


Halitosis – Bad breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, can occur from time to time or be more or less permanent, depending on the cause. Some of the common causes are poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, respiratory tract infections or underlying illnesses like diabetes, kidney, liver or reflux disease.