Ryan M. Buckwalter, DDS, FICOI, FAGD

1420 Greenbrier Place
Charlottesville, VA 22901


Gum Disease Symptoms & Prevention Tips

Almost half of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of gum disease, increasing their risk for tooth loss, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory problems, and more. Symptoms include red, swollen, or receding gums as well as bad breath, loose teeth, and more. Fortunately, a professional family dentist can detect these symptoms and prevent long-term damage from destroying your smile.

Hillcrest Dental has provided families in Albemarle County with excellent dental care since 1953. We provide general and cosmetic services as well as surgical dentistry. That said, our professionally trained dentists and dental specialists are prepared to take on all your dental needs. For more information, contact us at (434) 973-2224.

Below, we discuss gum disease as well as its symptoms, risk factors, prevention, and treatment:

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease—also known as gingivitis, periodontitis, or periodontal disease—is a condition caused by the accumulation of plaque, bacteria, and saliva on and in between your teeth. These inflame the gums around your teeth. If left untreated, this condition worsens over time. So, start thinking about prevention before symptoms even begin!

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Common periodontal disease symptoms include:

  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Red, swollen, and tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth


Risk Factors for Developing Gum Disease

Oral hygiene experts have linked a range of factors to an increased risk of gum disease. These factors include:

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Family history with gum disease
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Poor nutrition and vitamin C deficiency
  • Medications that cause dry mouth or other oral effects
  • Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer
  • Hormonal changes within the body, such as menopause or pregnancy


How to Prevent and Treat Gum Disease

The best ways to prevent gum disease are to brush and floss daily. We recommend brushing at least twice a day and flossing once, especially before bedtime. Our dental care experts also suggest you rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash to help prevent bacteria from spreading across your teeth and gums. 

Additionally, avoid foods with high sugar content—especially sweets that get stuck in between teeth—and quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Regular checkups with a dentist can stop problems before they become serious issues. If have been diagnosed with gum disease already, we recommend visiting your dentist frequently for treatment and follow-up care.

Treatment for gum disease depends on the severity of your case and its progression. The options range from medicated mouthwash to scaling and root planing or, in extreme cases, oral surgery.

The Bottom Line on Gum Disease

Untreated gum disease only worsens and leads to expensive dental care costs. You may not even notice its early symptoms, so always ask your dentist about your risk of developing gum disease. Feel free to talk to your dentist about gum disease costs and the best prevention plan for you.

Hillcrest Dental is Your Family Dentist Practice in Albemarle County, VA

Hillcrest Dental is a patient-centered, family dentist practice in Albemarle County. We’re prepared to provide expert prevention strategies and dental care treatment for gum disease and other oral ailments. No matter your treatment, we strive to treat patients with unmatched attentive, personalized care. For more information on how Hillcrest can help with gum disease and more, call us at (434) 973-2224 or visit our website.

  • "I am very pleased with how my appointment went yesterday. Everyone was really friendly. They explained everything to me about the procedure and stayed late to assure I was comfortable with the work I had done. Dr Ryan Buckwalter and his assistants were awesome. I highly recommend them for any dental work. Thank you."

    Donnette M.

  • "I was having toothache pain in my lower jaw. I called the next day to make an appointment and was given an appointment time for the very next day. I saw Dr. Ryan, who is knowledgeable, caring and has great people skills with his patients. I made another appointment to come back and have the work done."

    Denise K.

  • “Dr. Buckwalter and his assistant did a wonderful job with our 8 year old today. While they were busy talking teeth, my 3 year old was enjoying his new lip balm and balloon! Finished up with a treat from Starbucks with our gift card. So glad our kiddos don’t fear the dentist. More like they want to keep stopping in."

    Logan D.

  • “Unbelievable experience with Dr. Ryan Buckwalter. Night and Day difference from my last dental experience with another dentist. I no longer fear the dentist!”

    David S.