Periodontal (gum) disease affects many adults in Canada. It ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious disease that can cause major damage to the soft tissue and bone.

The way you care for your teeth and gums everyday determines whether the gum disease can be controlled or will advance. The mouth is full of bacteria that constantly form plaque on your teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly help get rid of plaque. When plaque is not removed regularly, it can harden and form tartar that cannot be cleaned by brushing alone. Only a professional dental cleaning by a dentist or hygienist can remove tartar.


The longer tartar is left on teeth, the more harmful it becomes. Gingivitis occurs when the gingiva (gums) become infected from tartar buildup on the teeth and gums.

An easy indication of gingivitis is bleeding gums experienced while tooth brushing. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with regular dental cleaning, brushing and flossing. This form of gum disease does not cause bone loss.

Advanced gum disease

When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to serious inflammation around the tooth. The gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces or pockets that become infected. As the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line, the body's immune system starts to fight back. The toxins and the body's natural response together start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. The teeth may eventually need to be removed.

Signs of gum disease

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums

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