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Many people are careful when it comes to their oral hygiene in order to avoid issues such as bad breath and tooth decay. However, not looking after your mouth properly can result in more serious problems. One such problem is periodontal disease – a severe type of gum disease.

Also known as periodontitis in more advanced stages, the disease is typically caused by infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention explains: “In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out.

“Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health.”

Indicators of periodontal disease include the obvious signs of gum disease such as red and swollen gums.

However, three colours building up at the bottom of your teeth could also signal the condition.

Doctor Mani Bhardwaj, clinical director and principal dentist at the Smile Studios Dental Group, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk about what to look for.

“In advanced periodontal disease you may see gross amounts of tartar and green, brown, dark yellow build up around the necks of the tooth near the gum line with bad breath associated,” he said.

“The gums may be showing signs of shrinking or receding and teeth may become mobile and tilted as a result of the loss of its bone foundation.

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“These signs will indicate that there is major gum disease active in an individual and that advanced periodontal treatment is required.”

Other warning signs include:

  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • Any change in the fit of partial dentures.

If you think you have any form of gum disease, whether in its early or late stages it’s important you get it checked by a dentist.

Left untreated it could result in tooth loss, shrunken gums and ulcers in the mouth.

However, studies have also warned that there is a link between periodontal disease and severe cardiovascular problems.

Harvard Medical School says: “For decades, researchers have probed the link between gum disease and cardiovascular health.

“Gum disease begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film dentists refer to as plaque builds up around teeth.

“A completely different type of plaque — made of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in blood — can build up inside arteries.

“Known as atherosclerosis, this fatty plaque is the hallmark of coronary artery disease.

“People with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event. But there may not be a direct connection.

“Many people with heart disease have healthy gums, and not everyone with gum disease develops heart problems.

“Shared risk factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, may explain the association. Still there’s a growing suspicion that gum disease may be an independent risk factor for heart disease.”

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