When proper oral hygiene isn’t practiced, accumulated plaque and tartar can lead to swelling of the gums and the other structures that support teeth (the periodontium). The most common types of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.
Recognizing and preventing periodontal disease
Gingivitis is a benign, reversible swelling of the gums. Gums become red, swollen and sensitive. They may also bleed during brushing or flossing.
Periodontitis is a bacterial disease that occurs when the swelling reaches the teeth’s supporting tissues, including the bone. In addition to the previously-mentioned symptoms, periodontitis causes persistent bad breath and loosening of teeth.
Periodontal disease is rarely painful. While some factors, like smoking or heredity, may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease, rigorous oral hygiene and regular check-ups are key to preventing it.