As the dental director of the Center for Dentistry in Naperville, Illinois, Dr. Carl Henley often fields questions about periodontal disease, which is an inflammation and infection of the tissues that surrounds teeth. Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease. Dr. Carl Henley explains that the most common signs of periodontal disease include:

1. Pain and swelling of the gums

2. Redness around the teeth

3. Gum recession, which reveals more of the space between teeth

4. Bleeding while eating, flossing, or brushing

5. Bad breath

6. Loose teeth

7. Pus in the mouth—which signals the body’s attempt to fight disease

Individuals can avoid periodontal disease altogether by doing the following:

1. Getting regular check-ups

2. Practicing good hygiene, which includes regular brushing and flossing

People who believe they might have periodontal disease should go to the dentist as soon as possible for a diagnosis. If the disease is caught in its early stages, more intense treatments like bone grafts and laser pocket removal can be avoided. If left untreated, periodontal disease leads to tooth loss.