bacteria in plaque cause gum disease but other things, like stress, smoking,
poor nutrition, illness, or genetic factors contribute to gum disease
or periodontal condition. Patients often confuse plaque and tartar and
how they are related to each other. Plaque is a bacterial film found above
and below the gumline. It is a sticky, colorless deposit which is constantly
forming on teeth. Food and fluids combine to produce deposits, and saliva
allows these deposits (plaque) to stick to your teeth.
Plaque which is not
removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into unsightly tartar
(also called calculus). Calculus is a destructive yellow or brown crust
that can only be removed by your dentist or hygienist.
Gingivitis is a mild inflammation of the gums followed by some swelling, tenderness,
and often bleeding caused by simple brushing.
Often when the gums
are left untreated, damage to the bone and supporting tissues will follow.
Periodontitis is the deterioration of the bone. Using a periodontal probe, your dentist
will examine you for periodontal disease. It is crucial to determine the
severity of the periodontal condition since the appropriate treatment
has to be administered.