Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and protect your teeth. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. At this stage, the disease is still reversible. You will need to be diligent about brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and see your dentist for regular (6 month) exams and cleanings to stop the progression of the disease. Advanced gum disease is called periodontal disease or periodontitis. This disease leads to sore, bleeding, sensitive gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss. Periodontal disease weakens and destroys the tissues and bone that support the teeth. It usually progresses slowly over time, but there can be periods of rapid progression.
Warning signs to look for:
Gums that bleed easily and often
Red, swollen, tender gums
Gum tissue that has pulled away from the teeth
Persistent bad breath
Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
Difficulty chewing and eating