Healthy gums enhance the appearance of your teeth, like a frame around a beautiful painting. A group of eight major, increasingly destructive periodontal diseases can gradually destroy the support of your natural teeth. It all begins through a simple infection in the gums. Dental plaque produces toxins or poisons that irritate the gums, causing them to turn red, swell and bleed easily. If this irritation is prolonged, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets. Plaque can also harden – above or below the gum line – into a rough substance known as tartar.
This disease damages the teeth, gums and jawbone of more than 80% of Americans by the time they reach 45. But don’t be fooled if you aren’t noticing obvious signs of disease. Bleeding, redness and swelling don’t always happen, and pain is usually not associated with periodontal disease.