What is gum disease (periodontal disease)?

Periodontal disease is a slowly progressing chronic inflammation of the gum and other structures that hold the teeth in.

Periodontitis presents when gingivitis is neglected and the inflammation progresses to deeper tissues, including the bone supporting the teeth. Eventually, teeth may become loose or drift out of position. Gingivitis is the earliest manifestation. It is essentially an easily managed inflammation of the gums characterised by puffy, red and inflamed gums that bleed readily.

Periodontal disease usually progresses without any pain or discomfort until eventually tooth loss is inevitable. Pain is not usually a feature until it is too late.

Unhealthy Teeth and Gums                       Healthy Teeth and Gums

moderate-perio                           healthy-mouth

The main signs of gum disease are:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Bleeding when you brush your teeth
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Receding gums (teeth look like they are getting longer)
  • Spaces increasing between teeth
  • Discharge of pus from around or between teeth
  • Loose teeth

Read more about the stages of gum disease.

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