Periodontitis - Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

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Table of contents

  1. What Is Periodontitis?
  2. What Are the Symptoms?
  3. What Causes It?
  4. How Can It Be Treated?
  5. How Can It Be Prevented?
  6. Learn More About SmilePath

Have you noticed that your gums bleed easily? Do they appear red or swollen? Chances are, this isn’t a dental issue that you can just ignore.

In fact, here are two clear signs that you might be suffering from periodontitis. Government research suggests that more than one in five Australians have periodontitis.

So what is periodontitis? How is it diagnosed and how can it be treated?

Keep reading as we explore the key facts about periodontitis.

What Is Periodontitis?

Let’s start with a look at what exactly periodontitis, or periodontal disease, is. Sometimes referred to as gum disease, periodontitis is a gum infection. It can damage the soft tissue, and in the latter stages of the disease, it can also harm the bone supporting your teeth.

It’s important to take action when periodontitis is diagnosed, as it can ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Periodontitis is fairly widespread, but it is preventable. Research suggests it is more prevalent in men than in women.

The infection is caused by bacteria that have been allowed to gather on your teeth and gums. The early stages of the disease are referred to as gingivitis.

It’s important to diagnose periodontitis early in order to stop the potential damage. Later in this article, we’ll cover how periodontitis can be treated and also how you can treat any existing conditions.

What Are the Symptoms?

Healthy gums are pale pink and fit snugly around the teeth. If you’re wondering whether you might have gum disease, take a look at these symptoms that are the most common indicators of periodontitis.

  • The inflammation, red or purple colour, and bleeding of gums
  • Loss of teeth or loose teeth
  • Receding gums or new spaces appearing between teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Tender gums or pain when chewing

The earliest gum disease symptoms can be hard to diagnose by yourself. Regular checkups with your dentist will help you stay aware of the first signs of gingivitis.

Discolouration, or plaque, on your teeth is another symptom to look out for when brushing your teeth.

What Causes It?

Now we can explore what causes the kind of gum infection that can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis. The predominant cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene.

This starts with the build-up of plaque. Brushing your teeth and flossing help to remove plaque, but it is quick to reform on the surface of teeth and gums.

When plaque isn’t removed, it becomes a hardened substance called tartar. This is much more difficult to remove and far more damaging than plaque. A hygenist or professional dental cleaning is required to remove tartar.

A build-up of plaque also leads to gingivitis. This is the inflammation of your gums. When gingivitis is not reversed, it leads to periodontitis. Pockets of bacteria develop between your teeth, ultimately leading to the loss of tissue and bone.

The Australian Dental Association have drawn attention to the relationship between a sugary diet and periodontitis. Dr Odont. Bente Nyvad says that the link between sugar and periodontitis “was largely forgotten” by dentists, yet recent studies are bringing this knowledge back to our attention.

If you have misaligned teeth you also need to take care. It’s worth being aware that delaying teeth straightening treatment can be a risk factor for periodontitis. We’ll now look at the different treatment options, including teeth straightening.

How Can It Be Treated?

When it comes to treating periodontitis, it’s important to establish a good oral hygiene routine. Your dentist will be able to point out the specific areas of your mouth where bacteria is gathering. You should also follow these essential tips:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Visit the dentist twice a year
  • Consider using fluoride toothpaste and an electric toothbrush

While gingivitis can be reversed with these steps, your dentist might recommend further professional dental treatment. Professional cleaning is a good first step to remove plaque and tartar and polish your teeth. A deep-cleaning method referred to as scaling might also be used to treat the worst areas of plaque build-up.

In some cases, antibiotics might be prescribed to counteract persistent infections. Surgery is also an option when the pockets of plaque and tartar are inaccessible when brushing and flossing.

Finally, another valuable and affordable treatment is getting your teeth straightened. SmilePath’s clear aligners are a great example of this.

It will make your brushing and flossing much easier, reducing the possibility for plaque to build up in inaccessible areas.

How Can It Be Prevented?

Lastly, even if you don’t currently have periodontitis, you’re right to be concerned about it. Preventative dental visits are one way you can keep a close eye on potential build ups of plaque and tartar.

Maintaining good oral hygiene is another must-do for avoiding gum disease. As well as the dental care tips above, you can avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, recreational drug use, and an unhealthy diet. These are all risk factors for periodontitis.

Finally, getting your teeth straightened is a great way to prevent gum disease. In addition to the boost in self-esteem it will give you, you’ll also make it less likely for bacteria to build up in awkward gaps between your teeth. SmilePath is an efficient and affordable example of how you can get your teeth straightened from the comfort of your own home!

Learn More About SmilePath

Whether you currently have periodontitis or you’re concerned about preventing it, SmilePath is a great option. Watch as your smile becomes straighter and straighter, reducing the opportunity for plaque to build up in those hard-to-reach areas between your teeth.

With SmilePath, you can get a personalized treatment plan and set of clear aligners, all without visiting your dentist! Get the ball rolling with our free assessment. Click here to get started!


Oral Health and Visiting Patterns of Australian Adults. (n.d.). The Department of Health. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from

Risk of periodontal diseases increased by sugar-rich diet. (2020, March 4). Australian Dental Association. Retrieved October 23, 2021, from