Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) is the second most frequent oral health problem noted in adults and the elderly. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums caused by the accumulation of dental plaque and tartar. Plaque is a clear bacterial film that sticks to the teeth and is produced by a combination of bacteria, saliva and food debris. The largest concentration of plaque is found between the teeth and at the edge of the gums. With time, plaque becomes tartar, a hard, granular substance that has to be removed regularly.


The two main signs of early gum disease, also called gingivitis, are bleeding of the gums when brushing, and bad breath. Gums may also be red, swollen, and sensitive to the touch. If gingivitis is left untreated, it may develop into periodontitis. At this stage, the bone that supports the teeth begins to deteriorate. If the condition remains untreated, the affected teeth become loose and must be removed.

Periodontal disease is the main cause of tooth loss in adults. Almost 75% of adults suffer from gum disease in varying degrees throughout their life. Denture wearers are not immune from gum disease. Brushing teeth or dentures, daily flossing, and regular visits to the dentist are the best way to prevent gum disease.

Other factors may contribute to periodontal disease, such as:

  • Conditions that affect the immune system such as thyroid malfunction, diabetes, pregnancy and leukemia;
  • Hereditary predisposition;
  • Personal habits such as poor nutrition, nail biting, grinding or clenching teeth, tobacco use, and too much sugar;
  • Medications such as birth control pills, and drug abuse.


Diagnosis and Treatment


 The dentist can diagnose and treat periodontal disease in its early stages. If the disease is at an intermediate or advanced stage, the dentist may refer the patient to a periodontist, a specialist who treats periodontal disease.

The goal of periodontal treatment is to restore gum health. Periodontal treatment usually involves removing plaque and tartar from the teeth, root planing or smoothing the roots of the teeth once the debris has been removed, and scaling the teeth and swollen gum tissues. Serious cases may require surgery to remove the tartar lodged in the pockets between the gums and teeth.

Periodontal Disease Brochure..........


Bad breath, or halitosis, affects approximately 65% of the population, causing personal and social discomfort. In most cases it is a temporary condition. For instance, morning breath is caused by decreased saliva flow during sleep, combined with reduced movement of the tongue and cheeks. Fresh breath is restored after a wholesome, well-balanced breakfast is eaten, and the teeth and tongue are brushed.
Bad breath results from the action of anaerobic bacteria, which can live without oxygen and cause the protein in food particles and other matter to decompose. This process generates foul-smelling gases that mingle with your breath.
The main causes of bad breath are:

  • Gum disease and inflammation
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Cavities and faulty restorations
  • Food particles between the teeth
  • Infections
  • Mouth breathing
  • Smoking
  • Decreased saliva flow
  • Accumulation of bacteria and food debris on the tongue

If bad breath continues despite good oral hygiene and there is no sign of infection, the following causes should be considered:

  • Tobacco and alcohol
  • Foods such as garlic, onions, pastrami, etc.Certain medications or supplements
  • Food residue that may accumulate around the throat or tonsils


The following illnesses can also cause bad breath:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney or liver problems
  • Some respiratory diseases or infections of the lungs, sinuses, larynx or nose
  • Gastro-intestinal disturbances, such as acid reflux

In these cases, the patient should be referred to a specialist for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.




Mouthwashes temporarily mask breath odour. However, too frequent use of mouthwash can irritate the mucous membranes in the mouth and increase bad breath. A dentist or dental hygienist can recommend the best mouthwashes with scientifically proven antibacterial properties.



A halimeter is a machine that gives an instantaneous and objective reading of breath odour. It is used when the cause of bad breath is difficult to pinpoint.

The best way to prevent the unpleasant effects of bad breath is to consistently practice good oral hygiene and visit the dentist regularly. If bad breath persists, consult your dentist.