If your gums are unusually tender and red or if flossing causes your gums to swell and bleed, you may be suffering from periodontal disease (gum disease). This is quite common - three out of four adults are diagnosed with periodontal disease each year. Nearly 70 percent of adult tooth loss can be attributed to gum disease.
Periodontal disease is caused by an excessive build-up of bacterial plaque on the teeth. As the plaque hardens, toxins are released from the bacteria causing the gums (soft tissue) to become irritated. The soft tissues around the teeth become increasingly damaged with the progression of the disease, as does the hard tissue, or bone, that support the teeth.