Gum Disease: Our Comprehensive Guide

Gum Disease: Our Comprehensive Guide

Updated on 16/05/2024

Whether you're experiencing the early signs of gum disease, concerned about the more advanced stages of periodontitis, or simply interested in the condition, understanding gum disease is crucial for maintaining a healthy smile.

This is why we've created a comprehensive gum disease guide, delving into what it is and its causes, symptoms, and effective prevention strategies, providing you with the knowledge and tools to protect your gums and overall well-being.

First things first...

What Is Gum Disease? 

In short - gum disease (also known as gingivitis) is a common infection which causes the gums to bleed or become red, swollen and sore. As well as oral pain, gum disease may also result in bad breath (leaving you with foul taste in your mouth), shrinking gums and even tooth loss. 

The main cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene from the build up of plaque on the teeth (a white sticky substance containing bacteria). While some bacteria in plaque are harmless, some are harmful for the health of your gums. If you don't regularly brush your teeth, the plaque will remain on your teeth, which can build up and irritate your gums. This can therefore lead to redness with bleeding, swelling and soreness.

What Happens if Gum Disease Is Left Untreated?

If gum disease is left untreated, it will progress into periodontitis, which is essentially a more severe stage of gum disease. 

The infection and pockets deepen while eating away at your jaw until your teeth become loose and fall out. As gum disease progresses, the gums begin to recede or separate from the teeth and the jaw bone and form periodontal pockets. This can lead to changes in the bite and pain while chewing or biting.

Tooth loss isn’t the only thing that happens if periodontitis is left untreated. It can also lead to heart disease, arthritis, and many other complications.

How Common Is Gum Disease in the UK?

Gum disease is more common than you might think. 

Did you know that more than 45% of adults here in the UK are currently being affected by gum disease? Gum disease has the potential to seriously impact an individual's quality of life, with 10% of the population currently living with the most severe form, which is the most likely to cause pain and even tooth loss.

This shows just how important it is to properly look after your teeth and gums from a young age.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease?

Gum disease can manifest in various stages, ranging from mild (gingivitis) to more severe forms (periodontitis). Recognising the signs and symptoms early can help in preventing its progression.

Here are the common signs and symptoms of gum disease:

  • Bleeding gums - Gums are not supposed to bleed, and when they do, it means there is inflammation going on which is a pretty strong sign that there is some sort of destruction of the gums.
  • Bad breath - Gum disease is the number one cause of bad breath, and the smell really is foul! 
  • Loose teeth - Those with late stages of gum disease will typically have loose teeth or find that their teeth shift in position. 
  • Gum recession - Another sign of the advanced stage of gum disease is the gums shrinking away, exposing the root surface of your teeth. This can lead to sensitive teeth that are even more prone to decay and erosion. 

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms of gum disease, we highly recommend you visit a dental professional for diagnosis and treatment.

Early intervention can prevent the progression of gum disease and preserve your oral health.

On the topic of prevention....

How to Prevent Gum Disease

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to prevent (and treat) gum disease if swift action is taken, such as: following a three-step oral routine, using expert approved dental products and regularly replacing your toothbrush.

1. Follow The Three-Step Oral Care Routine

As mentioned above, gum disease typically strikes when we don’t look after our oral hygiene. If you have early-stage gum disease, the best way you can treat it (and prevent it getting worse), is to simply ensure your dental routine includes the three-step regimen: brush, floss, and rinse.


To correctly  brush your teeth, place your toothbrush at a 45° angle against your gums and brush each tooth approx. 15 to 20 times. Ensure you use short strokes, moving the brush gently around your mouth. 

Remember, the outer tooth surfaces should be brushed using back-and-forth strokes, whereas the inner upper-front teeth should be brushed vertically against them using downward strokes. For your lower inside teeth, use upward strokes. 


Flossing works to remove plaque and tiny food particles that get stuck between your teeth and under your gums.

To floss correctly, grab about 18 inches of floss and hold it tightly with two hands, between your thumbs and forefingers. Place it between your teeth and gently slide it up and down. Gently rub the side of the tooth and once it reaches the gum line, curve it around 1 tooth. Repeat for every tooth then discard once used. 


Rinsing with mouthwash can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup as it kills bacteria in those hard-to-reach places below the gums, and eliminates bacteria on non-tooth oral surfaces such as the tongue and cheeks.

To rinse, pour your oral rinse of choice into the cup provided with the product or a plastic measuring cup. Empty the cup into your mouth and swish it around with the force of your mouth. Bonus points if you can gargle for 30 seconds.

The best way you can treat and prevent gum disease from getting any worse is to simply ensure your dental routine includes the three-step regimen: brush, floss, and rinse.

2. Make Regular Trips to the Dentist

If an upgraded oral hygiene routine isn’t helping reverse gum disease symptoms, chances are the plaque has developed into tartar, which can only be removed with professional cleaning by a dentist. 

We recommend scheduling regular 6-months dental visits for check-ups and professional cleaning to clear your mouth of tartar.  

3. Use a Dentist Approved Fluoride Toothpaste

It’s essential that the toothpaste you're using to brush is dentist approved and contains fluoride, such as the Brush Fresh zero waste toothpaste tablets

Not only does fluoride remove tartar, reduce plaque and protect teeth, but it can also attract strengthening minerals (such as calcium) to the area. Calcium is great for our bones, helps repair tooth damage and keeps our teeth healthy and strong. 

Brush Fresh Toothpaste Tablets

These tubeless, natural & vegan toothpaste tablets are perfect for everyday use, travel (hand luggage friendly & leak proof) and most of all to better your oral health! This product shows that we can be both healthy for ourselves, and healthy to the environment.

Learn how to use toothpaste tablets here. 

4. Replace Your Toothbrush Regularly 

Dentists recommend that you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or earlier if it begins to become worn or frayed. It is also suggested to get a new toothbrush after you have had a cold, strep throat, or similar illness. This prevents the risk of bacteria and germs spreading. 

Eco-Friendly Bamboo Toothbrushes

Our bamboo toothbrushes are a great choice if you’re looking for an effective brushing routine, without harming the environment. Some of its key features include:



Brush Fresh Co. is founded and run by a group of UK-based dentists, who specialise in environmentally-friendly and sustainable dental products. From biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes to zero waste toothbrush tablets, our product range has been designed to put both your dental health and the environment first. For more information and dental care advice, head over to our blog page or get in contact with us here.

Written by Kate, on behalf of Brush Fresh Co - the UK's Dental Experts Providing eco-friendly dental care.
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