You might be surprised to learn that there is a tasteless, colorless, and odorless substance adhering to your teeth at this very moment that, if left untreated, could lead to bone and tooth loss. This harmful offender is called plaque, and as it forms in your mouth, it gathers bacteria to it. Plaque is a sticky substance and it will stubbornly cling to your teeth until you become afflicted with gum disease. Gum disease is serious, so read on to gain a better understanding of just how this condition proceeds, and how to stop it before it does irreparable harm.
For plaque to do harm, it needs to form into tartar. Plaque that has been allowed to build up hardens into tartar, which can be a challenge to properly remove since tartar is actually a calcified deposit and can become rock-hard. Simple brushing and flossing won't remove tartar; you must have a professional cleaning by a dental hygienist to eliminate it.
If the tartar is not properly removed, you can expect a progression to gingivitis. Unlike the build-up of tartar, gingivitis can be seen and felt most unpleasantly. Common symptoms of this disorder include bleeding and swollen gums, and sometimes pain when brushing. At this point, there is no bone loss present, so it's vital that the progression to a more serious level be stopped so that you can avoid the more catastrophic condition that is to come.
This final and most serious step of gum disease causes your teeth to begin to pull away from your gums, which leaves pockets where further infection and inflammation forms. Eventually, the inflammation works its way to the bones and ligaments in your jaw and gum, which help keep your teeth in place. Teeth will loosen and fall out with untreated periodontitis. At this point you can see the loss of bone in your mouth area without dental X-rays.
Many people procrastinate when it's time for their dental check up, placing it low on their list of priorities in their busy lives, when a regular cleaning could catch and stop the progression of this serious disorder. Gum disease is entirely preventable, unlike many medical conditions, and timely and complete treatment can stop this disease in its tracks. See your dentist and ensure that you don't allow your teeth to fall victim to gum disease. Learn more here.