Your teeth can only be as healthy and strong as the tissues that surround and support them: your gums! To keep your gums healthy, proper periodontal treatment such as brushing and flossing every day is necessary. When neglecting to perform at-home oral hygiene and visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and exams, your gums can become infected with periodontal or gum disease.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums that, if not treated, can cause serious dental and bodily health problems. Gum disease is caused by an accumulation of plaque on the tooth at the gumline. When left uncleaned for extended periods of time, plaque will harden into tartar.
In the very beginning stages of this disease, called gingivitis, the plaque irritates the gums and will cause them to be sore and tender. In this stage, deep cleaning, brushing, and flossing will eliminate the disease and prevent it from spreading.
Later stages of periodontal disease can become very serious and require extensive treatment to heal. Gum disease can start deteriorating gum tissue and even the jaw bone if left untreated for too long. Teeth may also be loosened and lost.