What is gum disease? 

Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. The culprit for this disease is usually poor brushing and flossing habits. These poor habits allow plaque – a sticky film of bacteria – to build up on the teeth and harden. If the disease worsens, it can lead to sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss.

Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria help to form plaque on our teeth. Brushing and flossing help to get rid of plaque. The plaque that is not removed by these practices hardens and forms “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. This tartar can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. 

There are risk factors for gum disease, but smoking is the most significant. Other risk factors include hormonal changes in women, diabetes, and medications that lessen the flow of saliva.

If you think you may be suffering from gum disease, here are some symptoms to look for:

Severe Gum Disease

Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. This infection can cause teeth to loosen, or in some cases, even lead to tooth loss. Periodontitis may be common, but fortunately, it is largely preventable. This infection is typically the result of poor oral hygiene – mainly poor brushing and flossing habits. 

Simply brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups can help to reduce your chances of developing periodontitis. 

There are certain symptoms of periodontitis for which you should be on the lookout. Healthy gums are firm and pale pink and fit snuggly around the teeth. If you are suffering from periodontitis, you may have:

Additionally, there are several different types of periodontitis. The more common types are below:

If you notice any symptoms of periodontitis, you should schedule an appointment with your dental professional immediately. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss, so do not ignore seeking professional help if you think you may have this infection. A dental professional will have both the tools and knowledge to examine and diagnose if there is an issue as well as prescribe a method of treatment.