What is gum disease?
Most people do not realize how common periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is. Three out of every four adults have some form of the disease. In its early reversible stage, called gingivitis, gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. When the disease progresses to the bone, which supports the teeth, it is called periodontitis. At this point it can cause irreversible damage. In the advanced stages of the disease, the bone and soft tissues that support the teeth are destroyed and this may cause the teeth to become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
Except in rare cases, gum disease can be prevented by thorough daily plaque removal by brushing and flossing, eating a balanced diet and by regularly visiting your dentist for professional cleanings. When plaque is not removed, it hardens into a rough porous deposit called tartar. Tartar is what causes most of the eventual damage and can only be removed by a dental professional.