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What is gum disease?

What is gum disease?

While it is most common in adults, gum disease can begin at any age. Preventing gum disease from developing is important for maintaining a healthy smile. Here, our Markham dentists explain what gum disease is and how you can prevent gum disease from negatively impacting your teeth and gums. 

Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) is a bacterial infection characterized by the inflammation of the gums. This common condition ranges in severity from gingivitis, to advanced periodontitis.

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease begins with plaque buildup. Plaque forms when the natural bacteria in your mouth combines with mucus and food particles.

Plaque is a sticky, colourless film that can harden into tartar if not removed by thoroughly brushing and flossing every day. 

Unless tartar is removed from your teeth it can attack your gum tissue and tooth enamel, causing your gums to become inflamed. This is the start of gum disease.

Common Signs of Gum Disease

Gum disease is treatable, and can even be reversed if caught early.  

The initial signs of gum disease can be painless and difficult to detect. That said, if you are experiencing any of the following signs, visit your dentist for a full checkup in order to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment:

  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Inflamed red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  • Mouth sores
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Pus around the teeth and gums
  • New spaces between teeth
  • Changes in bite function

What You Can Do

When it comes to gum disease, early detection and treatment are key.

In its advanced stages, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, or other serious health issues if the bacteria gets into your bloodstream. 

A thorough oral hygiene routine, including brushing twice daily, flossing daily and visiting your dentist for regular dental check-ups helps to prevent gum disease. Twice yearly dental visits also give your dentist an opportunity to detect developing issues early and treat them before they become more serious.

If you think you may have gum disease, contact our Markham dentists to schedule an appointment.

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