There are two stages of gum disease. The first is known as gingivitis and refers to superficial inflammation of the gums. It presents as bleeding of the gums either when aggravated for example during toothbrushing, or it can occur spontaneously when the gums are particularly sore, red and swollen. Gingivitis is reversible; with good oral hygiene including thorough and regular brushing and flossing of the teeth, it can subside. However, if left to persist, gingivitis can progress to a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis. This is typically a chronic condition characterised by a loss of the bone that supports the teeth in the jaws. Untreated, it can eventually lead to tooth mobility and ultimately tooth loss.
Gum disease occurs as a result of dental plaque being present along the gum line. When plaque is not removed from around the teeth and along the gums, it hardens and forms what is known as calculus or tartar. Calculus cannot be removed by tooth brushing alone, rather a professional clean using special tools carried out by your dental professional is required. To reduce the risk of developing gum disease, professional teeth cleaning should be sought out regularly to maintain healthy teeth and gums.