Periodontal diseases are infections of the gums that gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically-susceptible individuals. Bacteria found in plaque produce toxins or poisons that irritate the gums. They may cause them to turn red, swell, and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth causing pockets (spaces) to form. Plaque can also harden into a rough, porous substance known as calculus (or tartar). This can occur both above and below the gum line.
As periodontal diseases progress, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.
What are the signs of gum disease?
There are many signs of gum disease.
- Gums bleeding when brushing the teeth
- Red and swollen gums. Tender gums
- Gums pulling away from the teeth, exposing roots and creating recessions
- Puss between teeth and gums. Sudden swellings that are painful to the touch
- Loose teeth, or spaces suddenly appearing between teeth
- Teeth beginning to flare out
- A change in the way your teeth fit together/a different bite