Gum disease may include symptoms from swollen gums to bad breath and loose or sensitive teeth.
Gum disease starts with a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. Tiny microbes combine with mucus and other particles to form plaque on the teeth and gumline.
Brushing and flossing will get rid of some plaque, but if any remains, it often hardens and forms tarter. Buildup of plaque and tarter can lead to gum disease.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health says these factors increase your risk of developing gum disease:
- Poor oral hygiene and few regular dental visits.
- Certain medications.
- Hormonal changes.
- Illnesses such as AIDS, diabetes or cancer.