Healthy gum forms a tight seal around the base of the crown Of a tooth and protects the sensitive root area below from bacterial infection and corrosion. If the gums are damaged or form pockets, the teeth are more likely to decay. Most gum disorders are caused by plaque (a deposit of food particles, mucus and bacteria on the surfaces of the teeth) and can prevented by good oral hygiene.

Most adults have some degree of gum disease which, if left untreated, may eventually lead to loss of teeth. Good oral hygiene is essential to help prevent gum disorders. During regular dental check-ups, most dentists and oral hygienists information on the correct way to brush and floss teeth and on general mouth care.

Gingivitis and periodontitis, both of which can lead to loosening and loss of teeth, are caused, in the main, by poor oral hygiene. Inadequate teeth cleaning leads to huild-up of plaque on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it causes the gums to become inflamed (gingivitis). In more serious cases, pockets form in which bacteria can erode tooth enamel and cause tooth decay and inflammation of the bony membrane ground the tooth (periodontitis). The teeth may affected and loosen or come out, either because the periodontal tissues are inflamed and detach from the teeth or because the gums recede, exposing the roots and leading to tooth decay.