Gum disease can be a silent affliction and without regular checks and treatment, the damage may already be done by the time a trip to the dentists becomes an absolute necessity.
Most people have some form of gum disease, according to the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. But it doesn't have to be an inevitable part of life and regular treatment can keep it at bay.
Gum disease is caused by plaque, the film of bacteria which we all find forms on our teeth if we don't brush our teeth as regularly and as thoroughly as we should. Left untreated, a simple swelling or soreness in the tissues supporting the teeth can turn into gingivitis or periodontal disease.
The BDHF has also said that in recent years gum disease has been linked with general health conditions including strokes, heart disease, poor pregnancy outcomes, diabetes and even dementia. The Foundation accepts that while the industry requires more research to understand how these connections may be caused, there is increasing evidence that having a healthy mouth and gums can help improve general health and reduce the costs of medical treatment.