This article discusses gum disease, and the effects of plaque and tartar. At Create A Smile in Bloomington IN, we remind all our patients to brush and floss regularly to prevent plaque and tartar buildup that, left unchecked, can lead to gum disease.
Plaque is a film that covers teeth – a sticky layer of bacteria. You can remove plaque through daily brushing and flossing. If it isn’t removed it can build up and harden into calculus.
Calculus, also known as tartar, is hardened plaque that also accumulates minerals from food and saliva. Regular check-ups and cleanings with your Bloomington dentist are necessary to remove tartar.
The bacteria in plaque cause gum disease. There are three stages to gum disease. Its earliest stage is gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. It is caused by plaque buildup beneath the gum line. Indications of gingivitis are redness or swelling of the gums, or some bleeding when you brush and floss.
A more serious form of gum disease is periodontitis. Periodontitis can damage the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place. Unfortunately, this damage is irreversible. Professional treatment usually prevents further damage to these tissues.
In cases of advanced periodontitis, teeth begin to loosen or shift. Aggressive treatment may save them, but sometimes there is no option but to remove the affected teeth.