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Gum awareness: minimising the risk of gum disease

Most of us don’t think about our gums that much, but gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious condition that affects a large number of adults in the UK. Gum disease occurs when bacteria create a film of plaque (known as a biofilm) on your teeth, irritating the gums and causing them to become swollen, sore, or infected.

If left untreated, the gum can start to separate from the tooth, allowing pockets to form and the bacteria to spread beyond the gum line. Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, can cause red, sore, or bleeding gums, while periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, can spread beyond your gums to your bone.

Thankfully, the risk of gum disease can be minimised by taking good care of your oral health and visiting the dentist regularly. Despite it being one of the most wide-spread diseases across the world, it is preventable and can be easily treated when it is found early enough.

Periodontal disease is usually pain-free (sometimes called ‘the silent disease’) and so you may be unaware of it until your dentist or hygienist checks for it.

Gum awareness fact 1

What are the 5 main symptoms of gum disease?

  • Tender or bleeding gums

    Tender or bleeding gums

    Caused by plaque bacteria, a sticky film that constantly build up around the teeth and gums, on and in between your teeth and if not removed can lead to irritated, bleeding gums and when brushing or flossing.

  • Bad Breath

    Bad breath

    As plaque breaks down pieces of food in your mouth, it may release an unpleasant smelling gas leading to bad breath.

  • Red or swollen gums

    Red or swollen gums

    A build up of plaque can cause irritated gums which may appear red and swollen.

  • Loost teeth

    Loose teeth

    The supporting structures of the teeth, including the surrounding bone, can be destroyed if the development of periodontal inflammation is not treated,. The teeth eventually loosen and are lost.

  • Long appearing teeth

    Long appearing teeth

    Gum recession is when your gums around you teeth draw back, exposing the root beneath. Increased tooth sensitivity can be one of the first signs as well as your teeth looking longer than normal.

Who is at risk of gum disease?

Everyone has the potential to develop gum disease, but some people are more at risk than others.

1 2 3 4 5 6

1 People with diabetes

Gum disease may make it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar, and diabetics are more likely to develop gum disease due to their increased susceptibility to infections.

2 Smokers

Smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, making it difficult for infected gums to heal. It also leads to a build-up of plaque and a faster progression of gum disease.

3 People with high blood pressure

Some blood pressure medications can cause an overgrowth of the gums, making tooth cleaning difficult and allowing plaque to accumulate, leading to gum inflammation and eventually periodontitis.

4 People with arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease are both inflammatory diseases and can make each other worse. People with rheumatoid arthritis may have a higher rate of gum disease, and gum disease in some patients may increase rheumatoid arthritis activity.

5 People who are stressed

Stress can suppress the immune system, making it easier for bacteria to thrive and causing increased attachment loss. People who are very stressed can also find it more difficult to look after their health, which can lead to a lack of effective oral hygiene and poor nutrition.

6 Women with adverse pregnancy outcomes

Adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as low birth weight, preterm birth, pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes have been linked to gum disease. Bacteria from gum disease may be transmitted from the bloodstream to the baby, so it is especially important that pregnant women take care of their dental health.

How do I improve my gum care routine?

Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gum disease. Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily can help remove plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums, while regular dental check-ups and cleanings can also help prevent gum disease by removing any plaque and tartar that has built up on the teeth and gums.



Electric toothbrushes, such as the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush, can remove at least 3 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and are much gentler on the gums.

See our Philips Electric Toothbrushes »

Interdental Cleaning

Interdental cleaning

Cleaning in between your teeth with either TePe interdental brushes or a Philips Airfloss will maximise plaque removal and minimise your risk of gum disease.

See our Interdental products »



Brushing your teeth for two minutes a day with a toothpaste specially formulated to prevent gum disease, such as Corsodyl Ultra Clean, is another way to greatly reduce your risk of dental disease.

See our gum health products »

Gum awareness fact 2

If the problems persist, contact your nearest mydentist practice and book an appointment with a dentist or hygienist.

Find your nearest practice here

Supported by

  • Mydentist
  • TePe
  • Philips
  • Haleon

*Dossier on Periodontal Disease, European Federation of Periodontology, www.efp.org.

** Contact [email protected] for verification

† reference SM9163 GSK Resource

†† reference https://www.corsodyl.co.uk/products/toothpaste/