An infection that attacks the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth, gum disease is a common oral disease. Gum disease is usually painless, so you may not realize that you have it. This disease can cause the loss of permanent teeth if it is not treated. Contact your dentist if you notice any of these warning signs:
• Gums that bleed easily when you brush and floss
• Red, swollen, and sore gums
• Gums that are pulling away from the teeth
• Bad breath or a bad taste that will not go away
• Loose or shifting permanent teeth
• Any change in your bite
• Pus coming from the gums
Gum disease is caused by the growth of bacteria and plaque on the teeth above and beneath the gums. The bacteria in plaque feeds on sugars in the foods and beverages you consume, causing toxins. These toxins irritate the gums, which causes them to swell and bleed easily. As time passes, plaque can harden, becoming tartar. This irritates the gums further and causes them to recede. At this point, the disease will spread below the gums and damage the tissues and bone that support the teeth. This causes the teeth to loosen and shift.
If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend extra dental cleanings. If this is not enough, a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing will be performed. Gum disease is easily treated in its early stages.