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Gum disease attacks the tissues and bones that surround and support the teeth. Gum disease is usually painless, so you may not realize that you have it. If left untreated, this infection can cause tooth loss in adults. If you have any of the following signs of gum disease, contact your dentist:

• Gums that bleed easily when you brush and floss
• Red, swollen, and sore gums
• Gums that are pulling away from the teeth
• Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
• Loose or shifting permanent teeth
• Any change in your bite
• Pus coming from the gums

This disease is caused by the growth of bacteria and plaque on the teeth, above and beneath the gums. The bacteria in plaque feeds on sugars in the foods and beverages you eat and drink, causing toxins. These toxins irritate the gums, which causes them to swell and bleed easily. As time passes, plaque can harden, becoming tartar. This aggravates the gums further and causes them to recede. At this point, the disease can spread below your gums and damage the tissues and bone that support your teeth. This causes the teeth to loosen and drift.

If you have gum disease, your dentist will provide extra dental cleanings. If this is not enough, a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing will be performed. Gum disease is easily treated in its early stages. Because of this, it is imperative that you schedule your routine dental appointments so that any issues can be spotted early.