Is there a cure for gum disease?

Carol Jahn
Gum disease is generally not curable but it is both treatable and more importantly, preventable. The best way to prevent gum disease is to see your dentist and dental hygienist for an exam and cleaning on a regular basis. At home, brush twice daily and clean between your teeth once daily. If you do not like dental floss or find it hard to use, other products have been shown to work as well and may be easier for you to use. These include floss holders, interdental brushes, and a Water Flosser.

Early stages of gum disease such as gingivitis are reversible with a thorough dental cleaning and good daily home care. However, if you prolong the time between dental visits or fail to brush well or clean between your teeth, gingivitis will return.

With gum or periodontal disease, there are varying treatments depending upon the severity of the condition. Early stages can be treated with a dental hygiene therapy called scaling and root planing. A general cleaning or prophy is not a appropriate at this stage and will not remedy the situation. A more severe case of periodontal disease may need treatment by a specialist called a periodontist.

The best "cure" it to prevent it in the first place. The more chronic the problem, the harder it is to cure. In its early stages, it can be reversed.

The short answer is that for gum disease that has progressed past the stage of gingivitis (i.e.: it involves not only the gums but the surrounding bone and connective tissue that surround the roots of the teeth) is no. Exactly what makes one person susceptible to periodontal disease and another not so is poorly understood in most cases. Some aggressive forms of periodontal disease appear to be largely hereditary, but in most people with periodontal disease the role of heredity is not as clear. In addition, families tend to share not only genetics but also environmental and lifestyle factors -- diet, exercise, smoking habits, oral hygiene. 

Most people with significant periodontal disease should view it as a chronic condition -- one that can be minimized and controlled by meticulous oral hygiene, regular periodontal care, optimal diet, and avoiding smoking. What you should NOT do is go to a periodontist, endure an involved course of periodontal treatment, and consider yourself "cured", and free to return to your old habits of inadequate oral hygiene and professional follow-up.

Someday there may be a magic pill that will make close monitoring of periodontal disease unnecessary; that day unfortunately is not upon us as yet.
The only type of periodontal disease that can be cured is gingivitis, which can be reversed with treatment in the dental office and good oral care at home.  

Some patients will develop more severe periodontal disease that must be treated. The first step usually involves a special cleaning called scaling and root planing, which removes plaque and tartar deposits on the tooth and root surfaces. The scaling and root planing helps gum tissues heal and reattach to the tooth. This is sometimes called a periodontal cleaning or deep cleaning, and may take more than one visit.

Your dentist may also recommend medicines to help control infection and pain, or to aid healing. These medicines could include a pill, mouthrinse, or substance that the dentist places directly in the periodontal pocket after scaling and root planing. Once your periodontal treatment is completed, your dentist may recommend more frequent checkups. Regular dental visits and deep cleanings are important to keeping gum disease under control. Good oral hygiene at home is also important to keeping periodontal disease from becoming more serious or from coming back.

You don't have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. Brush, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Chronic diseases like periodontal disease and diabetes, are medical conditions that are managed, not cured. Thankfully, periodontal disease is fairly easily managed and doesn't have to cause any significant problems in your life. Work with your dentist and dental hygienist to discover how best to handle your chronic medical problems.

There is no cure for serious gum or periodontal disease, known as periodontitis, but it can be prevented and controlled by good oral hygiene habits, nutrition, a functional bite, and by not smoking. All these measures are especially important for those with diabetes who are at higher risk of suffering from periodontitis. Loss of bone and teeth is the worst possible outcome and this can be prevented as long as you see your dentist regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle and clean your teeth effectively twice a day.

Continue Learning about Periodontitis


If you leave gingivitis untreated, it may spread to the ligaments and bones below the gums, becoming periodontitis. The bacterial inflammation causes teeth to lose support. Eventually the teeth will become loose and fall out. Some...

times the infection becomes so severe that it can cause a tooth abscess. This can be quite painful. Antibiotics can help, and treatment for the general condition includes cleaning and improved oral hygiene.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.