Tooth Decay & Gum Disease

The causes of tooth decay are the same for everyone, at any age. Decay happens when the bacteria in plaque feed on the sugar in our diet. A cavity starts as a very small hole that forms on the surface of a tooth.

Gum disease (periodontal disease) often progresses at a slow pace, with no pain. As a result, it is very common. Gum disease is not just about your mouth — there is evidence linking gum disease to heart disease, respiratory disorders, and strokes.

Along with preventive maintenance, look for warning signs and see your dentist immediately if you notice any of the following:

  • Bleeding gums while brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
  • Red, swollen, or tender gums
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth
  • Pus between your teeth and gums when the gums are pressed
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Any change in the fit of your partial dentures
  • Any change in bite
  • Persistent bad taste or bad breath

Check your mouth regularly for these signs of gum disease:

  • Change in colour of gums
  • Gums that are red around your teeth
  • Gums that bleed every time you brush or floss
  • Bad breath that will not go away
  • A taste of metal in your mouth
  • Shiny, puffy, or sore gums
  • Teeth that are sensitive for no reason

How does diet affect my teeth?

Dietary habits have an impact on tooth erosion. Here are some helpful tips from Dr. O’Toole to help maintain the health of your teeth. This article is republished with permission from the author.

Nutrition for Children
Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Gum Disease FAQs
My Health Alberta – Tooth Decay
My Health Alberta – Gum Disease