Gum disease (or periodontal disease) is one of the most common causes of tooth loss in adults. It is caused by plaque – a complex biofilm of bacteria that builds up on teeth. If not removed, plaque hardens/calcifies into a hardened substance called calculus or tartar. This tartar can not be removed with normal brushing and if left in place can destroy the fibres that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets and gum recession. The pockets trap food and bacteria and can eventually lead to the loosening and loss of the tooth.
Gum disease is characterised by swollen, inflamed gums surrounding the teeth but in the earlier stages of gum disease serious damage may occur before you notice any problems.
Smoking increases the likelihood of gum disease and quitting is encouraged