Gum disease is the commonly used term for periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease involved the destruction of tooth supporting tissues (bone and gums). It occurs in a cyclic manner with burst of destruction and period of inactivity. It can affect any age group but is most common in adults.

The mildest form of periodontal disease is gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). The usual cause of gingivitis is plaque. Plaque is a soft sticky colourless film of bacteria that forms on teeth and gums.

The signs and symptoms of gingivitis

  • Red, swollen and tender gums that bleed on brushing.

Gingivitis is the easiest form of periodontal disease to treat.

The more destructive form of periodontal disease is call periodontitis.

This is advanced periodontal disease where part of the gum that seal to the tooth becomes weakened and spaces form called periodontal pockets. Bacteria become trapped in these spaces causing further inflammation. As the disease progresses bone is lost and larger pockets begin to form. In extreme cases of periodontitis teeth can become mobile and fall out.

The signs and symptoms of periodontitis are

  • Swollen and bleeding gums
  • Bad breath and bad taste
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth.