Gum Disease Medication: How to Identify Gum Disease and Treat It

Gum Disease Medication: How to Identify Gum Disease and Treat It

Gum health is the cornerstone of a healthy, confident smile and at Strong Jaw, we've made it our mission to guide you towards optimal oral well-being. But did you know that poor gum health can also have far-reaching consequences for your overall well-being? Gum disease, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss and even increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health issues. That’s why understanding gum disease medication and treatment options is crucial to maintaining not just a beautiful smile but also a healthy body.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the world of gum disease medication, from antibiotics to over-the-counter options, and discuss non-medication treatment options to help you navigate the path to better oral health. We’ll also look at how to identify gum disease symptoms and explore the risk factors that make some individuals more susceptible to this common but potentially severe condition. So let’s get started on the journey to a healthier mouth and a happier life!

Key Takeaways

  • Gum disease can be treated with topical and oral antibiotics, over-the-counter options, scaling & root planing or periodontal surgery.
  • Identifying symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis is important for early treatment.
  • Prevention through daily oral hygiene practices, regular dental visits and healthy lifestyle habits are key to maintaining good oral health.

Understanding Gum Disease Medication

Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is an infection caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar on your teeth. This buildup can lead to inflammation and damage to the gums and surrounding bone. The good news is that proper gum disease treatment can help eliminate disease-causing bacteria and prevent further damage, especially when detected early.

There are various types of gum disease medications available, depending on the severity of the infection. These medications can come in the form of topical or oral antibiotics, as well as over-the-counter options. Each treatment option aims to kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and promote healing of the affected gum tissue.

We will delve into each of these medication options.

Topical Antibiotics

Topical antibiotics are medications that are applied directly to the gums to help control infection and inflammation. These medications come in various forms, such as creams, ointments, and gels, containing antibiotics like neomycin, bacitracin, and polymyxin B.

Topical antibiotic

The mechanism of action of topical antibiotics involves killing or inhibiting bacterial growth on the skin’s surface, effectively preventing or treating gum disease-related infections. Applying these medications directly to the affected area can aid in eliminating disease-causing bacteria and curbing bacterial growth, thus playing a vital role in your gum disease treatment plan.

Oral Antibiotics

Oral antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or metronidazole, can be prescribed by a dentist to treat more severe cases of gum disease or ANUG (acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis). These medications are taken orally and work systemically to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation throughout the mouth.

Oral antibiotics

While oral antibiotics can be highly effective in treating gum disease, they may also come with some potential side effects. Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You should discuss any concerns with your dentist and adhere to their advice on the correct use of oral antibiotics for optimal gum health.

Over-the-counter Options

Over-the-counter options, such as chlorhexidine or hydrogen peroxide mouthwashes, can also play a crucial role in gum disease treatment. These mouthwashes can help control plaque, reduce inflammation, and prevent gum disease progression.

However, keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide must always be diluted before use to avoid causing damage to gum tissue. Regular use of chlorhexidine mouthwash may result in discoloration of the teeth to a brown hue, so it’s vital to follow the directions for use and rinse the mouth thoroughly between brushing and using the mouthwash.

Incorporating over-the-counter mouthwashes into your daily oral hygiene routine can contribute to maintaining a healthy mouth and reducing the risk of gum disease.

Identifying Gum Disease Symptoms

Identifying gum disease symptoms is crucial for early treatment and prevention of further damage. Gum disease progresses in stages, starting with gingivitis, which is reversible if treated promptly. However, if left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can cause significant damage to the gums and underlying bone. Some common gum disease symptoms include:

  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment. Early intervention can help prevent further damage and maintain good oral health.

To catch gum disease in its early stages, it’s essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms of both gingivitis and periodontitis. We will examine the symptoms associated with each stage of gum disease.

Gingivitis Symptoms

Gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease, is characterized by red, swollen, and tender gums that may bleed when brushing or flossing. This inflammation is caused by the buildup of plaque on the teeth, which contains harmful bacteria that can irritate the gums and lead to gum disease.


Recognizing these early warning signs is vital in preventing the progression of gum disease. Seeking professional dental care and enhancing your oral hygiene habits can effectively cure gum disease in its early stages and prevent the more severe repercussions of untreated gingivitis.

Periodontitis Symptoms

Periodontitis, the more advanced stage of gum disease, is associated with the following symptoms:

  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Changes in bite or tooth alignment


This stage of gum disease results from the continued accumulation of bacterial plaque on the teeth and gums, leading to more severe infection and damage to the gums and underlying bone.

Timely treatment of periodontitis is essential, as the disease can progress rapidly and lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Understanding the symptoms of periodontitis enables you to seek professional dental care and implement an effective gum disease treatment plan.

Non-Medication Treatment Options

In some cases, non-medication treatment options may be necessary to address gum disease effectively. These treatment options typically depend on the severity of the infection and may include scaling and root planing or periodontal surgery.

Both nonsurgical and surgical periodontal treatment options are available for gum disease, with the choice of treatment depending on the severity of the infection and the individual’s oral health needs. We will delve into these non-medication treatment options in more detail.

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is a type of deep dental cleaning that involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the roots of teeth. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia to ensure the patient’s comfort, and it involves the smoothing of rough spots on teeth roots to prevent the reattachment of bacteria and plaque.

While scaling and root planing can be an effective gum disease treatment, it may cause some discomfort for up to 48 hours following the procedure. However, this temporary discomfort is a small price to pay for the long-term benefits of healthier gums and a reduced risk of further gum disease progression.

Periodontal Surgery

For more advanced cases of gum disease, periodontal surgery may be necessary. This surgical procedure involves:

  • Exposing and lifting the gums to remove plaque and tartar from areas that are not accessible through regular deep cleaning
  • Repairing bone loss
  • Promoting healing in the gums and surrounding tissues

Periodontal surgery can help improve the condition of your gums, including the connective tissue, and prevent further damage.

There are various types of periodontal surgery, including flap surgery, soft tissue grafts, bone grafts, and guided tissue regeneration, each with its specific procedures and potential risks. Your dentist or periodontist will determine the most suitable course of action based on the severity of your gum disease and your individual needs.

Prevention and Maintenance

Prevention and maintenance are key to avoiding gum disease and maintaining good oral health. By practicing daily oral hygiene, attending regular dental visits, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing gum disease and ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles.

We will examine the various preventive measures and maintenance habits that can contribute to better oral health and lower your risk of gum disease.

Daily Oral Hygiene

Daily oral hygiene practices, such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, can help control plaque and prevent gum disease. These simple habits can go a long way in keeping your teeth healthy and free from harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease.


It is essential to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and use mouthwash as recommended by your dentist to maintain optimal oral health. Incorporating these daily oral hygiene practices into your routine can prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can lead to gum disease.

Regular Dental Visits

Regular dental visits for checkups and professional cleanings by a dental hygienist can help detect and treat gum disease early. During a typical dental visit, your dentist will evaluate your teeth and gums for signs of gum disease, such as redness, inflammation, and bleeding, and may take X-rays to detect any signs of bone deterioration.

Dentist visit

Regular dental visits offer several benefits, including:

  • Early detection and prompt treatment of any signs of gum disease
  • Prevention of the progression to more severe stages of the disease
  • Maintenance of a healthy mouth

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors that can contribute to better oral health and lower gum disease risk include:

  • A healthy diet, which can supply your body with essential vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal oral health
  • Not smoking, which can reduce your risk of gum disease and other oral health issues, such as tooth decay and oral cancer
  • Managing stress, as stress can negatively impact oral health

Managing stress is also essential for maintaining good oral health, as stress can weaken the immune system and make it more difficult for your body to resist infection, including gum disease. Adopting these healthy lifestyle habits can significantly lower your risk of developing gum disease.

Understanding Risk Factors

Understanding the various risk factors for gum disease can help you take preventive measures to maintain good oral health. Several health, dental, and lifestyle factors can increase one’s risk of developing gum disease, such as genetic predisposition, age, and certain medical conditions.

We will examine these risk factors in more detail and learn how to minimize their impact on your oral health.

Genetic Predisposition

A genetic predisposition may increase your risk of developing gum disease, making regular dental visits and good oral hygiene even more important. Individuals with a genetic predisposition are more vulnerable to the bacteria that cause gum disease, making it crucial to practice proper oral hygiene habits and attend regular dental checkups.

Understanding your genetic predisposition and taking proactive measures to maintain good oral health can significantly cut down your risk of developing gum disease and its associated complications.

Age and Gum Disease

Age is a risk factor for gum disease, with older individuals being more susceptible to periodontitis. This increased risk is due to a weakened immune system and, in some cases, a lack of proper oral hygiene in older individuals.

Vigilance about your oral health as you age and maintaining good oral hygiene habits can significantly curtail your risk of developing gum disease and its associated health complications.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and specific autoimmune diseases, can increase the risk of gum disease and make it more difficult to manage. These conditions can hinder the body’s ability to combat bacteria that cause gum disease and reduce the efficacy of medications used to treat gum disease.

Being aware of your medical history and the potential impact of medical conditions on your oral health enables you to collaborate with your dentist and healthcare providers to develop a personalized gum disease prevention and treatment plan that takes these factors into account.


In summary, understanding gum disease medication and treatment options, identifying gum disease symptoms, and taking preventive measures are crucial for maintaining good oral health. Strong Jaw is committed to empowering you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your oral health. By incorporating daily oral hygiene practices, attending regular dental visits, and adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing gum disease and preserve a healthy smile for a lifetime.

Remember, the key to a healthy mouth and a lifetime of beautiful smiles lies in proactive prevention and early intervention. Don’t wait for gum disease to take hold – take action now to protect your oral health and overall well-being!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best medicine for gum disease?

Antibiotics such as Arestin® and PerioChip® are the best medicines for treating gum disease.

Your periodontist can place these medications in the space between your gums and teeth.

Is there any over the counter medicine for gum disease?

Yes, mouthwash is an effective over-the-counter medicine for gum disease. Be sure to select a formula that is alcohol-free and contains either chlorhexidine or hydrogen peroxide.

How can I treat my gum disease myself?

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss and use dental brushes or soft picks once a day, visit a dentist once a year, avoid tobacco use and limit consumption of sugar-rich foods to treat your gum disease yourself.

These simple steps can help you maintain healthy gums and teeth. Brushing and flossing are essential for removing plaque and bacteria from your teeth and gums. Visiting a dentist once a year can help detect any problems early and provide preventive care. Avoiding tobacco use and limiting sugar-rich foods can help reduce the risk of tobacco use.

Do you need medication for gum disease?

Yes, medication may be necessary to treat gum disease. Oral or topical antibiotics can help control bacterial infection, while other procedures such as planing and scaling may also be required.

These treatments can help reduce inflammation and pain, and can help prevent further damage to the gums and teeth. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.

What is the difference between topical and oral antibiotics for gum disease treatment?

Topical antibiotics are applied directly to the gums to fight infection and inflammation, while oral antibiotics are taken systemically to fight bacteria throughout the mouth.

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