Gum disease is quite a serious problem. Not only can it be painful, it also is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. In addition, it can give you bad breath, receding gums, loose or shifting teeth and more.
What happens is that your teeth gradually build up plaque, and if this is not properly taken care of, it continues to progress and builds up an over growth of harmful bacteria around the gums. This is called “gingivitis”. Typically, you will notice the gums are red and inflammed, and you will often have some bleeding when brushing your teeth. This can typically be treated with a thorough cleaning, where the plaque is scraped off and your teeth and gums are cleaned.
However, if the bacteria continue to build up and are not treated, it can get much worse. The bacteria go deeper and deeper into your gums and create “pockets” in the gums where more bacteria can settle and grow. Your gums pull away from your teeth and you can end up with loose teeth which can eventually fall out.
The more advanced gum disease (called “Periodontitis”) takes a bit more to treat, and typically requires getting in between the gums and each tooth to clean out all of the bacteria that has settled into the pockets, as well as scrape off the bacteria and plaque that is able to grow lower on the tooth (in the root).