Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding your teeth and one of the top reasons for loss of teeth in adults.
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque ( a sticky, clear film of bacteria that forms on teeth). If plaque isn’t removed, it builds up over time and creates toxins that damage gums. Periodontal disease forms below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth.
There are two stages of periodontal disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. It causes irritation, redness and swelling of gingiva – the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing. However, if left untreated, Gingivitis can lead to a much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and worst of all – tooth loss.
Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and destroys the bone that supports your teeth. Gums infected with Periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose or fall out. However, if treated early on, the damage can be stopped.
You can significantly reduce your chances of getting gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene at home and scheduling regular dental visits.