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Gum disease can waylay a healthy smile by causing all sorts of havoc. Fortunately, gum disease doesn’t usually become problematic until folks reach their 30s and 40s. So, what exactly is gum disease? It’s the result of bacterial plaque buildup around and under the gum line, which develops when it isn’t cleared away daily.

Plaque arises because the mouth is home to millions of bacteria which flourishes unless it’s removed every day. As it mingles with oral debris and oral mucus, it turns into a sticky film that coats your oral surfaces–tongue, teeth, and gums. Brushing and flossing help keep this film to a minimum. You especially want to prevent it from hardening into tartar, because at that point, our periodontic office will need to remove it, using tools designed for the job.

If plaque and tartar aren’t controlled, with time the gums will become inflamed, known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is the state of your gums where they bleed easily, where redness and swelling are evident. Fortunately, this is the early stage of gum disease and is generally reversible with stepped up oral hygiene. Daily, faithful brushing and flossing and routine dental cleanings can turn it around.

However, left unchecked, gingivitis progresses into a more severe form of the disease, called periodontitis. This is the inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding your teeth. At this stage, your gums recede from the teeth, leaving behind spaces, or pockets which become infected. Infected gum pockets cause your body to fight back, and this immune response, along with the bacterial toxins causes plaque to multiply underneath the gum line.

The result? A harmful breakdown of bone and connective tissue which hold your teeth in position. Unless periodontitis is stopped with treatment, it will destroy those bones, gums, and tissue material that support your teeth, causing them to loosen and having to be removed.

Don’t let gum disease interfere with your oral health. Brush and floss every single day and see your periodontist regularly to remove tartar. To schedule an appointment with our doctors, Dr. Peter Warshawsky, please call Periodontics of the Desert in Palm Desert, California, at 760-674-4410 today.