New Patients: (317) 333-6788

Existing Patients: (317) 890-4455

10935 East Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46229

Smilling couple


Dental patient in Indianapolis asks, “What causes gum disease?”

Dr Matthew Church describe causes gum disease

Gum disease affects millions of people every day. The main cause of gingivitis or periodontitis, the two forms of gum disease, is the development of excess plaque on the teeth and near the gum line, which contains harmful bacteria. Often this is the result of inadequate oral hygiene, and avoiding seeing the dentist. However, other factors that may influence a patient’s susceptibility to gum disease include:

  • Twisted, overcrowded, or crooked teeth impair the ability to remove debris and plaque between teeth
  • Poor diet, including too much sugar or starch, Vitamin C deficiency, and insufficient water consumption
    Smoking or use of any tobacco product
  • Anxiety or stress, which can affect the body’s ability to fight infection
  • Breathing through the mouth which causes gum irritation
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Certain prescription medications
  • Health conditions, including diabetes or cancer

Symptoms may develop over time and without being noticed immediately. Patients often find that they experience chronic halitosis or a bad taste in their mouths. Gingivitis is the milder, earlier stage of gum disease, and if left untreated, can lead to periodontitis. Symptoms of gum disease, depending upon the severity, may include:

  • Irritated and inflamed gums which can appear red or swollen and may bleed during flossing or brushing
  • White spots similar to pimples on the gums
  • Changes in the bite or in how dentures fit
  • Teeth appear to become longer because gums recede and begin to pull away from the tooth and bone
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Exposed root of the tooth
  • Tooth loss or loosening


New Patients: (317) 333-6788

Existing Patients: (317) 890-4455

At Washington Street Dentistry, located in Indianapolis and serving patients and families from East Indianapolis, Anderson, Greenfield, Lawrence, New Palestine, Cumberland, and surrounding neighborhoods, Dr. Matthew Church believes that the best treatment for gum disease is prevention. Our friendly and gentle dental team encourages patients to schedule annual or twice a year visits for professional cleaning, oral screening and examination, and detection of any potential changes occurring in the patient’s mouth.

With a comprehensive array of advanced dental care, our team can care for patients of all ages in the comfort of a trusting and respectful relationship. We offer emergency, pediatric, family, restorative, cosmetic, and sedation dentistry, as well as treatment for root canal, sleep apnea, and gum disease. Call us today at (317) 333-6788 for more information.

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For your general, cosmetic, and emergency dental needs, visit

Washington Street Dentistry

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