Everyone forms a sticky white film on their teeth called plaque. Plaque is loaded with bacteria. Gum disease is caused by bacteria. If plaque (bacteria) is not thoroughly removed from the teeth with a toothbrush and floss then the first stage of gum disease will occur. This first stage is called gingivitis. Gingivitis can be reversed by simple brushing and flossing thoroughly twice a day and there will be no long lasting affects.
If plaque is allowed to continually build up on the teeth then some people will develop the second stage of gum disease called periodontitis.
This second stage of gum disease will destroy the attachment of the gum to the tooth and destroy the surrounding jaw bone that holds the teeth in place.
Gum disease is not painful and occurs over a long period of time, therefore many people do not realise they have it.
Eventually gum disease causes the teeth to fall out. Visit your dentist regularly as they will screen you for gum disease and refer you to the hygienist if necessary.
There are some rare forms of gum disease that are painful.