Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene habits that allow plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to accumulate on the teeth and harden. In its early stages, called gingivitis, the gums may become inflamed and red, and may bleed. In its most severe form, called periodontitis, the gums can detach from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth can loosen or even fall out. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause gum pain and bleeding, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss.
Toxins or poisons (produced by bacteria in plaque and by good enzymes in the body that are involved in fighting infections) begin to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place. As the disease progresses, pockets deepen and more gum and bone tissue is destroyed. This leads to teeth becoming loose and eventually falling out. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Some plaque bacteria are harmless, but others are harmful to gum health.
If you don't remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them regularly, it will build up and irritate your gums. This can cause redness with bleeding, swelling, and pain. It is important to take preventive measures to avoid periodontal disease. Good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily can help reduce your risk of developing gum disease. Regular dental check-ups are also important for detecting any signs of gum disease early on.