Gum disease (periodontal disease) is an infection of the gums, which gradually destroys the support of your natural teeth. Dental plaque is the primary cause of gum disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Daily brushing and flossing will prevent most periodontal conditions.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum disease, than from cavities. The best way to prevent and gum disease and cavities is by good tooth brushing and flossing techniques, performed daily.
Gum disease and decay are both caused by bacterial plaque. Plaque is an off-white film which sticks to your teeth at the gum line and elsewhere. Plaque constantly forms on your teeth. By thorough daily brushing and flossing you can remove these germs and help prevent gum disease.
Plaque can harden into a hard deposit on the teeth called calculus (or tartar). Calculus is a gum irritant which should be removed regularly by a dental professional.
Other important factors affecting the health of your gums include:
- Poor nutrition
Bacteria found in plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, which may cause them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, causing pockets (spaces) to form. As gum disease progresses, the supporting gum tissue and bone that holds teeth in place deteriorate. If left untreated, this leads to tooth loss.