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Gum disease is usually caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. If plaque is not removed with thorough daily brushing and cleaning between teeth, gums become irritated and inflamed. The irritated gum tissue can separate from the teeth and form spaces called pockets. Bacteria move into the pockets where they continue to promote irritation. Left untreated, the process can continue until the bone and other tooth-supporting tissues are destroyed. The early stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. It often results in gums that are red and swollen and may bleed easily.

Periodontal disease

Normal, healthy gums

How can I tell if I have periodontal disease?

Some people with periodontal disease have few or no warning signs. If you notice any of these signs, see your dentist:


  • gums that bleed when you brush or floss

  • red, swollen or tender gums

  • gums that have pulled away from your teeth

  • bad breath that doesn't go away

  • pus between your teeth and gums

  • loose or separating teeth

  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

  • a change in the fit of partial dentures

Periodontal disease will not go away by itself

Preventing and treating the disease in the early stages are the best ways to keep your smile healthy and to avoid tooth loss. During your visit at Victory Dental, a periodontal probe will be used to gently measure the depth of pockets between your teeth and gums.

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