Gum disease (periodontitis) is a problem for over 60% of the adult population. Because it often goes unnoticed until the later stages, it has often been called a "silent epidemic" in North American culture. Some of the signs and symptoms of gum disease are red, swollen gum tissue, bleeding of the gums when you brush or floss, chronic bad breath, and loose teeth.
The cause of gum disease is a bacterial infection in the gum tissue surrounding the tooth. This infection is worsened by the presence of plaque and tartar on your teeth. When this tartar is not removed professionally by a dentist or dental hygienist, an infected pocket can form around the tooth. When this pocket deepens, the infection can spread to the fibres supporting the tooth and to the surrounding bone. Left untreated, this gum disease can lead to the formation of an abscess and the loss of one or more natural teeth. In some cases a referral to a specialist is required.