Periodontitis is a severe condition affecting the gums. Initially it may start out as Gingivitis, a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected. If you have gum disease, your gums may bleed when you brush your teeth and you may have bad breath.
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth, plaque contains bacteria which forms when you eat and drink. Some bacteria are harmless, but some are very harmful for the health of your gums.
If you do not remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them, it will build up and irritate your gums, leading to redness, swelling and soreness. This can also lead to the more serious Periodontitis.
Mild cases of gum disease can usually be treated by maintaining a good level of oral hygiene, including brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly as well as regular dental check-ups.
In most cases, your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to give your teeth a thorough clean and remove any hardened plaque (tartar) by performing a scale and polish. They will also be able to show you how to clean your teeth effectively to help prevent plaque building up in the future.
If you have untreated gum disease that develops into periodontitis, it can lead to further complications, such as gum abscesses (painful collections of pus), receding gums, loose teeth or loss of teeth.
In severe cases, a permanent disfigurement (such as gum recession and elongation of teeth) remains. Plastic and reconstructive surgery can correct some of these disfigurements, but not in all cases.