Periodontal disease, often called ‘gum disease’ describes a range of conditions that affect the supporting tissues of the teeth and roots. This may include the gingiva – ‘gums’ and also the deeper tissues of the bone and ligaments that connect the teeth to the bone.
The two main forms of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease. It is caused by the presence of plaque and calculus. The bacteria found in plaque produce toxins which irritate the gums and cause inflammation and swelling. This usually results in bleeding when brushing or flossing.
Gingivitis is treated by thorough and correct daily brushing and flossing, and professional removal of calculus and debris.
Left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis.