Gum Infections

Gum infections in the UK are more common than people realise, as is tooth decay leading to gum infection. Although easily prevented gum infection may lead to severe discomfort and tooth loss if untreated, as the teeth and gums are destroyed by the oral infection. Dentists increasingly attempt to make people aware of the need to protect their teeth and gums from infection which may lead to other health complications.

Cause of Gum Infection

Cases of gum infection are usually caused by bacterial colonisation of sticky plaque, arising from inadequately cleaned teeth. For this reason, dentists recommend oral hygiene maintenance on a daily basis with proper teeth brushing.

Visits to the dental hygienist for teeth cleaning and scaling to remove plaque and tartar are also advised to keep gum infection at bay. Gum infection may also result from improper care of or damage to orthodontic devices and dentures. Seeking proper advice on their maintenance from a dentist and having the devices properly restored is important to reduce the risk of developing oral infections.

Gum infection may also result from dental injury when the mouth is vulnerable to infection. This is why it is crucial to receive emergency dental care within an hour of the injury. Other factors that may contribute to gum infections include:

  • Genetic and hereditary traits
  • Lifestyle habits such as poor diet, smoking and poor oral hygiene
  • Hormonal changes, pregnancy and certain health conditions
  • Medications or drugs

Symptoms of Gum Infection

Symptoms such as the presence of blood on the toothbrush or during teeth cleaning may be early signs of gum infection. Dentists use X-rays and other diagnostic tests to determine if bleeding or gum irritation is the start of gum disease. If left untreated symptoms of gum infection can worsen and develop into gum disease, such as periodontitis.

Gum infection symptoms range from mild to severe; they may be blindingly obvious to the sufferer or go unnoticed. Typical symptoms of gum infection include:


Gum inflammation, swelling and bleeding


Receding gum tissue and gum tenderness


Foul oral taste and odour


Mouth sores, ulcers and presence of pus or abscess


Loose teeth and unusual bite sensations

Gum disease starts as gum inflammation or gingivitis. The gum irritation, swelling and bleeding can worsen to an infection of the gum tissue and periodontal ligaments connecting the tooth to the gum tissue and jaw bone. The degeneration of gum tissue and periodontal ligaments can lead to loose teeth and teeth loss.

Severe periodontitis may lead to jaw bone loss and jaw disorders, such as a misaligned jaw, which may require extensive orthodontic treatment or oral surgery. Catching the early signs of gum infection and disease allows individuals to receive treatment to restore oral health and improve general health.

Conditions such as oral infection and periodontitis can cause other health complications if the infection spreads through the bloodstream. Medical conditions associated with gum infection include diabetes and heart disease.

We are all at risk of developing gum disease. Weak immune systems, inadequate dental hygiene, untreated oral injuries and dental damage are all factors that can cause a person to develop gum infection and disease. However, gum disease usually starts when a gum irritation or infection is left untreated.

Gum disease can develop slowly because the symptoms may not initially be obvious. Bacterial infection sets in and only when mouth sores and painful abscesses develop do people seek dentistry care to remove the infection. This treatment is sometimes too late and gum disease may have already set in.

At regular dental check-ups or where gum irritation is present and an oral check is needed, a dentist may be able to identify early signs of gum infection or gum disease and provide the treatment necessary to prevent its development.

The start of gum infection is easily treated through professional teeth cleaning and scaling, as well as root canal treatment where necessary. Root planing is another means of ridding oral tissue of infection before it spreads to other dental structures.

All dental treatments are provided pain-free through local anaesthetic and sedation where necessary to give greater comfort and relaxation. Patients with dental phobia benefit from IV or Conscious Sedation for calm dental treatment of gum infections.

As long as individuals continue with their dental care plan, oral hygiene practice and receive the needed dental care, gum disease may be managed and kept in healthy control. However, if recommended dentistry care is not sought the condition may worsen and lead to other dental conditions, such as bone and tooth loss.

When gum infection is present a puss filled abscess may develop around the tooth or near the tooth roots. These abscesses or gum boils require proper dental care to drain out the infection and provide pain relief.

Symptoms of mouth sores, gum boils and oral abscesses include toothache, tooth sensitivity and, in some cases, headaches. Glands around the face and mouth may become swollen and nerves inflamed causing facial redness. Fevers and high temperatures may develop and be accompanied by nausea and diarrhoea. Once the infection is removed these symptoms subside and dental care can restore damaged teeth.

If left untreated or left to burst the tooth root canal may fill with infection which spreads via the bloodstream. Blood infections can severely weaken immunity. Emergency dental care may be accessed for the treatment of mouth sores, oral abscesses and gum boils.

Accessing Dental Care for Gum Infections

Individuals needing urgent care for gum infections or other oral traumas may contact us by phone or email for an appointment. We strive to treat patients in need of urgent dental treatment within a reasonable amount of time.

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