facebook-square twitter-square instagram chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down x phone location share chevron-thin-right calendar left-quote right-quote black-star-glasses-png eye book-appointment-maroon-icon-(1) types-of-services-white-icon-(1) location-white-icon next2 previous2 forward3 backward2
bleeding gums – hero Hero

Does Gum Disease Cause Bone Loss?

Book Appointment
Bitten apple with blood on it.

Trips to the dentist can seem unnecessary, but regular exams and cleanings are important for preventing dental problems. Red, puffy gums can be a sign of gum disease, a severe condition that can lead to tooth loss or other complications. 

Gum disease can lead to bone loss if left untreated, making good oral hygiene essential for protecting your health. 

What Is Gum Disease? 

Gum disease, also known as periodontitis, is an infection of your gums. It occurs when bacteria mix with leftover food particles in your mouth, turning into plaque that slowly damages your teeth. While gum disease can lead to severe damage, it’s typically preventable with good oral hygiene. 

The symptoms of gum disease contrast with the pale pink look of healthy gums. These symptoms include: 

  • Swollen gums
  • Puffy gums
  • Pink stains on your toothbrush after brushing
  • Tender gums
  • Gums that bleed when touched
  • Pain when chewing
  • Gums that recede
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus between the teeth and gums
  • Gaps developing between your teeth

Gum Disease Risk Factors

While gum disease commonly occurs due to poor hygiene, other factors can increase your risk of this disease

These factors include: 

  • Genetics
  • Cannabis use
  • Hormonal changes
  • Frequent smoking or chewing tobacco use
  • Poor diet
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Reduced immune function
A dentist is sitting beside her patient and demonstrating how to properly brush the teeth. Poor oral hygiene can cause gum disease and possible bone loss.

What Causes Gum Disease? 

The cause of gum disease is typically poor oral hygiene. Forgoing your nightly brushing and flossing can have consequences if you aren’t careful.  

The early beginnings of gum disease occur when plaque develops. Gum disease progresses in several steps

  • Plaque develops: You develop plaque when bacteria mix with food particles left in your mouth, turning into a clear, sticky coating on the teeth. If not removed with regular brushing, plaque can harden.
  • Plaque turns into calculus: Calculus, or tartar, is hardened plaque that you can’t remove with regular brushing. It forms on the tooth and root, leading to inflammation that results in erosion of bone around the teeth.
  • Gingivitis: Think of gingivitis as the lite-version of gum disease, occurring when plaque inflames and irritates your gums. If left untreated, this condition can worsen. 
  • Gum disease occurs: Gum disease develops when continued inflammation causes infection between your teeth and gums, called pockets. Bacteria, plaque, and calculus fill these pockets. As gum disease worsens, it can lead to tooth loss and other complications. 

Does Gum Disease Cause Bone Loss?

Gum disease can lead to bone loss in your jaw if left unaddressed. This damage occurs as bacteria dig deeper into your gums. This bone loss typically occurs in the moderate stage of gum disease, and you’ll begin to lose your teeth as it enters the advanced stage

How Long Does Gum Disease Take to Cause Bone Loss?

The timeline for gum disease can vary, but it takes a few weeks to progress to the severe stages. Tartar typically hardens within 24 to 72 hours of plaque formation. If this tartar isn’t dealt with, it can lead to gingivitis. 

If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to gum disease. It’s better to deal with gingivitis as early as possible to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums. 

How Can You Treat Gum Disease? 

Treating gum disease depends on the severity of your condition. Early-stage gum disease can be treated with help from your dentist. Some people can even reverse their symptoms with improved oral hygiene, such as daily brushing and flossing. 

Some possible gum disease treatments include: 

  • Scaling and root planning: Scaling helps remove tartar and plaque from your teeth, and root planning helps smooth the roots of the teeth to prevent future plaque buildup. 
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics can help prevent your infection from worsening. Your dentist might recommend a mouth rinse or other form of antibiotics to treat your condition. 
  • Flap surgery: Serious cases of gum disease may require surgery. Your doctor makes tiny cuts into the gums to expose the roots of your teeth and clean the affected area. 

Tips to Prevent Gum Disease

Taking care of your teeth and gums is the best way to prevent gum disease. While regular brushing and flossing are important, dental health requires more than at-home care. 

You can protect your oral health in several ways, including: 

Book Your Next Dental Exam & Cleaning

Your dentist plays an essential role in your oral health. Exams and cleanings are as important as daily brushing and flossing. Don’t take your teeth and gums for granted—gum disease can lead to tooth and bone loss if left untreated. 

Contact Riverwalk Dental when it’s time for your next dental exam and cleaning.

Written by Dr. Brandon Scott

Our Services

Visit Our Convenient
East Village Location

We are conveniently located in Calgary’s East Village! Street parking is available out front, and our team will happily cover the costs of your parking, talk to our team for more information.


  • 540 6 Ave SE
  • Calgary, AB T2G 1K5

Contact Number


  • Monday11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
  • Tuesday8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Wednesday8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Thursday8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Friday9:00 AM - 1:00 PM*
  • SaturdayClosed
  • SundayClosed

You Can Have the Smile
You Always Wanted

Our smiles say so much about us, and a genuine smile is infectious! At Riverwalk Dental we work hard to give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Could your smile use a bit of pampering? Request your next appointment today!

Teeth Whitening

Could your smile use a bit of TLC? Learn more about our teeth whitening services by visiting our Teeth Whitening page.

Teeth Whitening +


Veneers are a great way to freshen up your smile by hiding tooth imperfections. Learn more on our Veneers page.

Veneers +


Are you curious about Invisalign? Learn more by visiting our Invisalign page.

Invisalign +

Could your smile use a bit of TLC? Learn more about our teeth whitening services by visiting our Teeth Whitening page.

Veneers are a great way to freshen up your smile by hiding tooth imperfections. Learn more on our Veneers page.

Are you curious about Invisalign? Learn more by visiting our Invisalign page.

instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax