People can experience a variety of different gum problems, often from poor dental hygiene. Small sores known as mouth ulcers or canker sores can form on the gums. Some patients suffer from gum disease; minor to moderate gum disease is known as gingivitis, while more severe cases are called periodontitis. Tooth infections may form abscesses in the gumline. The gums may also recede due to chronic gum disease.
Canker sores are one of the types of gum problems people commonly experience. These small, painful lesions can form on the gums for a variety of reasons. Some common causes of canker sores include damage or trauma to the gums, infections, or nutritional deficiencies.
Another of the types of gum problems many people suffer from is gum disease, or periodontal disease. Gum disease is caused by buildup of bacteria in the form of plaque on the teeth at the gumline, usually due to poor dental care. It can cause swelling, pain, and bleeding of the gums, as well as chronic bad breath. Typically, gum disease starts off in its less severe form, gingivitis, which can be treated before it becomes severe and causes permanent damage. If it progresses, it can become become periodontitis, which is much more damaging and can cause bone loss in the jaw, receding gums, and tooth loss; it has also been linked to more severe health problems like heart disease and stroke.
Problems with the teeth can also lead to gum problems, particularly abscesses in the gums. When a tooth has a cavity that goes untreated, the infection can spread up into the gums. The area becomes very painful and swollen, and pus will build up at the location of the infection. In addition to the local pain in the gums, abscesses may also lead to an overall feeling of illness including fever as the body tries to fight the infection.
Some people may experience receding gums, usually if they have gum disease for a long period of time. Plaque on the teeth may erode the gumline, causing it to draw back from the teeth and expose more of the teeth, possibly even to the roots. The condition is typically not painful initially, though the teeth may feel more sensitive to hot and cold. As gum recession is often a sign of gum disease, however, allowing it to continue without taking steps to address the infection may lead to more significant problems.