Gum disease is an infection, most commonly caused by bacteria building up on the teeth. It is also known as periodontal disease.
There are two different types of gum disease, namely gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the less severe of the two types of gum disease, but it can still cause damage to the gums. Periodontitis is a more severe type of gum disease and can lead to serious problems with the teeth, jawbone, and gums.
Symptoms of gum disease can include red or swollen gums, bleeding from the gums, a bad taste in the mouth, pain when chewing food, bad breath, and loose or shifting teeth.
People who are more at risk of getting gum disease include those who smoke, older people (aged around 35 years or older), diabetics, alcoholics, and those with a poor immune system. Diabetes is thought to reduce the body’s resistance to infection, while smoking makes it harder for blood vessels to supply the gums with enough of the immune cells that combat infection.
People who are suffering from gum disease should follow a good oral hygiene routine, such as brushing their teeth three times every day and flossing daily. They should also visit their dental professional at least once every six months for periodontal treatment and to prevent further damage to the gums. The dental professional should also be visited if any of the symptoms listed above occur.