Gum disease, scientifically referred to as periodontal disease, is a type of infection that affects the gums surrounding the teeth. Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It is often difficult to detect as it typically does not cause pain, leading many patients to be unaware of their condition. During regular dental checkups, dentists examine the space between your teeth and gums to detect any signs of periodontal disease.
Gum disease is primarily caused by the accumulation of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance composed of bacteria that forms on the surface of teeth. Plaque, if not removed through regular dental care practices such as flossing, brushing, and dental checkups, can accumulate, and produce harmful toxins that may cause damage to the gums. Gum disease is a condition that develops beneath the gum line. It causes the formation of small pockets that create a separation between the gums and the teeth and has two stages, gingivitis and periodontitis.
Your dentist may suggest additional cleanings and checkups, upgrading your at-home routine, or eventually seeing a periodontist.