Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along and under your gum line. Plaque causes an infection that hurts the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place. A mild form of gum disease may make your gums red, tender, and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be fixed by brushing and flossing every day.
A more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis, must be treated by a dentist. If not treated, this infection can lead to sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss.
To prevent gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss regularly.
- Visit your dentist routinely for a checkup and cleaning. Tell the dentist about any medical conditions you have and medications you take.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for gum disease.