Gum disease is caused by plaque and may result in tooth loss without proper treatment. Read about symptoms, stages, treatment, and home remedies. Read more: Gum Disease (Gingivitis) Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Mouth Problems: TMJ, Canker Sores, Painful Gums and More
Sores, painful gums, bad breath -- what's going on in your mouth? Find out with our slideshow of the most common mouth problems....
Oral Health: 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 Problems: Tooth Decay, TMJ, Mouth Pain Causes & Treatments
Do you have a toothache? What is oral cancer? Symptoms like mouth pain and sensitive teeth can indicate dental problems. Learn...
25 Effects of Smoking on Your Looks and Life
Cigarette smoking can affect your looks and moods. But did you know smoking also affects your heart, causes wrinkles, and...
Gingivitis Gum Disease Quiz: Test Your Dental IQ
What is gingivitis and how will you know if you have it? If you have gum disease, what can you do about it? Take this quiz to...
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...
The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush & Germs
How many germs are on your toothbrush? See how to store and keep your toothbrush clean from the millions of bacteria that can...
IMAGESSee pictures of dental procedures and oral health conditions See Images
Related Disease Conditions
Pericoronitis is inflammation of the gum tissue around the molars that often occurs in young people when the wisdom teeth erupt. Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatment.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
People absorb more nicotine into their systems by chewing tobacco (snuff or smokeless tobacco) 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.
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.
How Do You Know if You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation that is limited to the gum line. Periodontitis always begins with inflammation of the gums.
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.
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.
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 mouth guard, and eating and drinking sugary 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.
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.
Do I Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis?
What are the symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis? Learn the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis and how to treat each condition.
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.
Local ResourcesFind a local General Practitioner in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- How a Healthy Mouth Makes a Healthy Heart
- Vaping May Be Worse Than Smoking for Your Nose and Throat
- Vaping Shows More Links to Gum Disease
- When Gums Aren't Healthy, Mind and Body May Follow
- Animal Study Suggests Link Between Obesity and Gum Disease
- AHA News: Could the Path to Better Brain Health Involve Better Mouth Care?
- Heartburn Meds Might Be Good for Your Gums
- More Evidence Ties Gum Disease With Heart Disease
- How Gum Disease Could Raise Your Odds for Severe COVID-19
- Links Between Gum Disease and Alzheimer's
- Study Ties Gum Disease to High Blood Pressure
- Bleeding Gums? You Might Be Lacking Vitamin C
- Add Gum Disease to List of Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19
- Gum Disease Tied to Higher Cancer Risk
- Want to Help Keep Diabetes at Bay? Brush & Floss
- Another Vaping Hazard: Less-Healthy Mouths
- Too Many Antibiotics, Opioids Given to Dental Patients in the ER
- Will Brushing and Flossing Protect You Against Stroke?
- 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
- 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: 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
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter