Gum disease develops because plaque, a sticky bacteria-filled film, develops on the teeth. The development of plaque is natural and happens after eating and drinking. Plaque must be removed with daily brushing and flossing, but when plaque around the gum line isn’t removed, it turns into tartar, which can only be removed by a dentist. If the tartar develops and stays at or below the gum line, it can cause inflammation of the gums, leading to gum disease.
Stages of Gum Disease
- Gingivitis is the mildest and earliest form of gum disease. At this stage, your gums will be inflamed because of the tartar build-up at the gum line. Since your bone and connective tissue is not compromised at this stage of gum disease, it can be completely reversed if treated properly.
- At this stage of gum disease, the connective tissues are harmed and the gum disease is irreversible. Persistent inflammation of the gums causes pockets between your teeth and gums that can fill with bacteria, plaque, and tartar. The infection can eventually cause degradation of tissue and bone.
- At this stage, the tissues and bone are so badly degraded that they can cause your teeth to become loose. Depending on the severity of your case, the teeth may need to be removed.