There are 2 types of gum disease gingivitis and periodontitis
What causes gingivitis?
When brushing and flossing techniques are not carried out effectively, plaque a sticky substance of food and harmful bacteria builds up along the gum line. These bacteria lead to infection and inflammation of your gums, they will look red and puffy. This condition is called gingivitis and nearly all adults suffer from this to some degree. Bleeding gums is an early sign of gingivitis. Plaque left for any length of time will start to harden and form calculus or "tartar" on your teeth. This cannot be removed by brushing alone and requires specialist scaling by your hygienist or dentist. At this early stage gum disease is reversible. Regular visits to the hygienist will help you return to and maintain gingival health.
What causes periodontitis?
Left untreated gingivitis may progress to a more severe condition know as periodontitis. This is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. The bacterial infection progresses to the deeper supporting tissues of the teeth know as the periodontal tissues which includes bone. As the disease progresses the bone supporting the teeth is lost. The teeth become loosened, abscesses can form and teeth may eventually be lost. At this later stage regular visits to the hygienist will help arrest and control the disease.