Gum disease is caused by plaque and may result in tooth loss without proper treatment. Symptoms and signs of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontal disease) include receding gums, bad breath and pocket formation between the teeth and gums. Treatment depends upon the stage of the gum disease, how you responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health. Read more: Gum Disease (Gingivitis) Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Top Problems in Your Mouth
Learn about some of the most common problems in your mouth such as sores, oral cancer, TMJ, painful gums, bad breath and more.
25 Effects of Smoking on Your Looks and Life
What are the effects of smoking tobacco? Besides and increased risk of smoking related diseases, smoking can affect your looks...
19 Habits That Cause Bad Teeth
Is chewing ice bad for your teeth? How do you avoid rotten teeth? Learn how chewing ice, eating snacks, teeth grinding and other...
Dental (Oral) Health Quiz: Test Your Dental Hygiene IQ
Take the Dental Health Quiz to test your IQ of oral hygiene, cavities, and common tongue and gum diseases. This quiz covers...
Cosmetic Dentistry Before and After Photos
How can cosmetic dentistry improve your smile? See before and after pictures of orthodontics (braces), dental implants, crowns,...
Dental Images of Cavities, Dry Sockets, Gingivitis
Learn about dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and oral cancer. Explore procedures such as root canals,...
The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush & Germs
Learn the ugly truth about your toothbrush. Are you practicing good oral hygiene? See how to store and keep your toothbrush clean...
IMAGESSee pictures of dental procedures and oral health conditions See Images
Related Disease Conditions
Menopause is the time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop, also called the "change of life." Menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, weight gain, and emotional symptoms such as mood swings. Treatment of menopausal symptoms varies, and should be discussed with your physician.
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
An abscessed tooth is an infection within a tooth that has spread to the root. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth may include pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and the presence of a pus-filled lesion on the gum. A dental professional diagnoses an abscessed tooth and dental X-rays may be required. An abscessed tooth is treated with a root canal.
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
A toothache is pain on or around a tooth. It may have a variety of causes, including a cavity, abscess, or even sinusitis. Toothache symptoms include pain, headache, earache, bad taste in the mouth, and gum swelling. Dental X-rays and other tests performed by a dentist are used to diagnose the cause of a toothache. Toothache treatment depends on the underlying cause. Taking proper care of the teeth and gums can help prevent toothache.
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue around the molars. Pericoronitis commonly occurs in teens or young people when the wisdom teeth erupt. Symptoms include pain, swelling, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty opening the mouth. Pericoronitis can be diagnosed by a dentist and is treated with pain medication. Severe cases may be treated with surgery.
Bad breath can result from poor oral hygiene habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be made worse by the types of food eaten and other unhealthy lifestyle habits.
The time when boys and girls begin the process of sexual maturation is called puberty. During this time, both sexes undergo a series of biological changes that include a rapid increase in height, bone growth, weight increase, the growth of pubic hair, breast development and the onset of menstruation in girls, and testicle, penis, and muscle enlargement in boys.
Gum problems may be caused by improper brushing and flossing, gum disease, canker sores, treatments and hormonal changes. Symptoms of gum problems include red, swollen, sore and bleeding gums. These symptoms can be prevented by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating a well-balanced diet, drinking enough water, not smoking, and relaxing.
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that people get in their late teens or early twenties. Impacted wisdom teeth that only partially erupt allows for an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. Before your wisdom teeth are pulled, the teeth and the surrounding tissue will be numbed with a local anesthetic. Recovery from wisdom tooth removal depends upon the difficulty of the extraction.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and non-prescription drugs and certain medical conditions. Symptoms of dry mouth include a sticky, dry feeling in the mouth, frequent thirst, sores in the mouth; sores or split skin at the corners of the mouth, cracked lips, a dry feeling in the throat, a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, and a dry, red, raw tongue.
Chewing Tobacco (Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff)
Chewing tobacco (snuff or smokeless tobacco) has more nicotine absorbed into the system than by smoking a cigarette. Chewing tobacco or snuff can cause: cancers, poor oral health(gum disease and tooth decay), infertility, pregnancy complications, and nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction can be overcome with available prescription drugs and other treatment programs.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) causes HIV infection and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Symptoms and signs of HIV infection include fatigue, enlarged lymph glands, and recurrent vaginal yeast infections. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the standard treatment for HIV infection.
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include: Irritability Tiredness Feeling sleepy during the day Concentration or memory problems Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Is Gingivitis Contagious?
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Poor dental hygiene, stress, smoking, some medications, and a poor diet can cause gingivitis. Gingivitis-causing bacteria can be passed from one individual to another.
7 Alzheimer's Disease Stages and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease depend on the stage of the disease. Some doctors and researchers disagree in regard to the number of stages of Alzheimer's disease (from 1 to 7 stages). The Global Deterioration Scale or GDS identifies seven stages of Alzheimer's disease that include stage 1 (no impairment), stage 2 (very mild cognitive decline), stage 3 (mild cognitive decline), stage 4 (moderate cognitive decline), stage 5 (moderately severe decline), stage 6 (severe decline), and stage 7 (very severe decline). There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, however, there are drugs and therapies to help the symptoms Alzheimer's disease causes.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. Bruxism may be caused by stress or anxiety and often happens during sleep. Symptoms and signs include jaw pain, headache, and abnormalities in your teeth. Treatment may involve practicing stress-management techniques, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, avoiding gum chewing, training oneself not to grind the teeth, and wearing a mouth guard.
Kawasaki disease is a rare children's disease characterized by a fever that lasts more than five days and at least four of the following five symptoms are present: rash, swollen neck lymph gland, red tongue, swelling or redness of the hands or feet, and conjunctivitis. High doses of aspirin are used to treat Kawasaki disease. Cortisone and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be used during treatment.
Learn more about cavities including symptoms, treatment, and prevention. See how tooth decay, plaque, and bacteria contribute to the creation of cavities and how regular brushing and flossing can help prevent dental caries.
Protect Your Teeth: 19 Bad Dental Habits to Avoid
Bad dental habits can wreck your teeth. Teeth grinding, chewing on ice, playing sports without a mouthguard, and eating and drinking surgary foods and drinks are just a few bad habits that are bad for teeth. Giving nighttime baby bottles, opening things with your teeth, and chewing on pencils can also damage teeth and tissues in the mouth. Drinking red wine and white wine can erode enamel and stain teeth. Smoking, tobacco use, drinking coffee can all lead to tooth stains. Binge eating disorder leads to the consumption of large amounts of sugary food, which can lead to tooth decay. Purging exposes teeth to acids that can wear down enamel.
Oral Health and Bone Disease
Osteoporosis may be linked to bone loss in the jaw, which in turn, leads to tooth loss. Low bone density may result in ill-fitting dentures, tooth loss, and gum disease. Dental X-rays may be able to distinguish people with osteoporosis from those with normal bone density.
Pregnancy Changes and Body Discomforts
Pregnancy can bring challenges like weight gain, stretch marks, varicose veins, heartburn, constipation, hemorrhoids, problems sleeping, and wondering if it is safe to have sex while pregnant. Learn how to manage and move through these challenges during pregnancy.
Local ResourcesFind a local General Practitioner in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Metallic Taste in the Mouth
- Mouth Sores
- Lump or Mass on Gums
- Bad Taste in the Mouth
- Loss of Taste Sensation
- Painful Gums
- Bad Breath
- Bleeding Gums
- How to Choose a Doctor
- Gum Disease
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Doctor: Getting the Most from Your Doctor's Appointment
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Health Tip: Gum Disease Risk Factors
- Fewer Teeth, Higher Risk of Heart Disease?
- Gum Disease Might Raise Your Blood Pressure
- Health Tip: Care For Bleeding Gums
- Gum Disease Shows Possible Links to Alzheimer's
- Gum Disease Bacteria Found in Brains of Alzheimer's Disease Patients
- Health Tip: Prevent Inflamed Gums
- Gum Disease May Worsen Blood Pressure Problems
- Smoking Seems to Weaken the Immune System: Study
- Tongue Piercings May Bring Harm to Teeth and Gums
- Health Tip: Help Prevent Gum Disease
- Health Tip: Recognizing Triggers for Gum Disease
- Health Tip: Keep Your Breath Fresher
- Heavy Drinking Could Raise Your Gum Disease Risk
- Gum Disease Tied to Yet Another Deadly Illness
- Can Treating Gum Disease Keep Blood Pressure in Line?
- Are You Ignoring Gum Disease?
- Do Your Pearly Whites Sometimes Cause You Pain?
- Gum Disease May Be Linked to Cancer Risk in Older Women
- Health Tip: Manage Dry Mouth
- Group Urges Tougher Limits on Chemical in Shampoos, Cosmetics
- Health Tip: Bleeding Gums During Pregnancy?
- Marijuana May Make Your Gums Go to Pot
- Healthy Gums Tied to Longer Lives for Women
- Health Tip: Attacked by Plaque
- More Evidence Ties Gum Health to Stroke Risk
- Dentists at the Front Line in Diabetes Epidemic
- Health Tip: Get Your Mouth Healthy Before Cancer Treatment
- Health Tip: Reducing Your Heart Disease Risk
- Could a Germ Link Gum Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis?
- E-Cigarettes Not Good to Gums, Study Finds
- Health Tip: Why Floss?
- Is All That Flossing Really Worth It?
- Health Tip: Evaluating Your Chances for Gum Disease
- Long-Term Pot Use Tied to Gum Disease in Study
- FDA Launches Ad Campaign Against Chewing Tobacco
- Is Seniors' Dental Health Tied to Mental Health?
- CDC: Federal Anti-Smoking Campaign Still Paying Off
- Health Tip: If You Have Bad Breath
- Severe Gum Disease May Boost Death Rate of Kidney Disease Patients
- Health Tip: Diabetics, Watch for Gum Disease
- Study Suggests Link Between Gum Disease, Breast Cancer Risk
- Toothlessness a Clue to Deadly Heart Disease?
- Health Tip: Do You Have Gum Disease?
- Another Downside to Diabetes: Tooth Loss
- Postmenopausal Women May Be at Risk of Gum Disease
- Prevent Tooth Loss and Dental Work With Good Gum Care
- Health Tip: Get the Facts About Gum Disease
- Health Tip: Help Prevent Gum Disease
- Oral Health in Women of Childbearing Age Needs Improvement
- CDC Readies Latest Graphic Anti-Smoking Ads
- Placenta Might Have Its Own Helpful Bacteria
- Health Tip: Why Teeth Are Sensitive
- One in 12 Older Americans Struggles to Afford Food: Study
- Oil-Swishing Craze: Snake Oil or All-Purpose Remedy?
- Health Tip: Keep Your Breath Fresh
- Typical Gum Disease Treatments Won't Help Ease Diabetes, Study Finds
- Health Tip: How Diabetes Affects Oral Health
- Health Disparities Persist in America: Report
- Brush Your Teeth, Help Save Your Heart?
- A Link Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer's?
- Pricey Dental Implants Not Always Necessary, Study Finds
- Cholesterol Drugs May Boost Your Gums' Health, Too
- Poor Oral Hygiene Tied to Cancer-Linked Virus, Study Finds
- Colon Cancer Linked to Mouth Infection, Gum Disease?
- Dental Care Safe for Pregnant Women: Experts
- Can Poor Dental Health Cause Dementia?
- Annual Dental Cleaning May Be Enough for Some: Study
- 4 Billion People Worldwide Have Untreated Cavities: Study
- Health Tip: What's Behind Bad Breath?
- Health Tip: Don't Smoke for a Better Smile
- Health Tip: When a Bite Isn't Right
- Health Tip: Signs of Periodontal Disease
- Severe Gum Disease May Be Linked to Impotence
- Health Tip: When It's Smart to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed
- Health Tip: If Your Teeth Are Sensitive
- Almost Half of U.S. Adults Have Gum Disease
- Health Tip: Cleaning a Young Child's Teeth
- Dental Woes Abound for Developmentally Disabled: Study
- Gum Disease More Common in People With RA
- More College Women Smoking Hookahs
- Gum Disease, HPV May Play Role in Head and Neck Cancers
- Does More Dental Plaque Mean Higher Chances of Dying From Cancer?
- Severe Gum Disease, Impotence May Be Linked
- Is There Proof Gum Disease Causes Heart Disease?
- Health Tip: When It's Wise to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed
- Health Tip: Prevent Periodontal Disease
- Health Tip: Warning Signs of Gum Disease
- Treating Gum Disease May Help Diabetics Avoid Complications
- Health Tip: Am I at Risk for Gum Disease?
- Quitting Smoking May Halve Risk of Oral Health Problems
- Licorice Root May Cut Cavities, Gum Disease
- Getting Your Teeth Cleaned May Help Your Heart
- Self-Control in Childhood Brings Adult Success
- FDA: Popular Mouthwashes Make False Claims
- New Immune System Clue to Low Back Pain
- Brushing Teeth May Keep Away Heart Disease
- Treating Gum Disease May Thwart Preterm Births
- Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
- Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
- Gum Disease May Make Diabetes Worse
- Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
- Marijuana Linked to Early Gum Disease
- Gum Disease Boosts Tongue Cancer Risk in Men
- Treat Gum Disease, Help Heart
Oral Health Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter