Gum disease is the inflammation and infection of the bone and gum that supports teeth. It is caused by bacteria in dental plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that forms daily on the surface of the teeth.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. It is inflammation of the gums which causes then to become red, swollen and bleed when brushing or flossing. Healthy gums should not be tender or bleed.
Long standing gingivitis can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called Periodontitis. This is where the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost and teeth become loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out.
Periodontitis is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults and most people will suffer from some form of gum disease. Certain people are at greater risk of gum disease such as:
Gum disease is preventable and controllable. People are often not aware of the onset of gum disease and significant bone loss can often occur before patients notice any problems.
It is important to have your gums checked regularly as part of a routine dental check up by the dentist, carry out thorough brushing and flossing daily and have a scale and clean by the hygienist every six months.