Research has proven that various types of bacteria in dental plaque cause periodontitis. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, of which some bacteria are harmless, where as others can attack the teeth and gums. Harmful bacteria are present in plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that is constantly formed when bacteria present in the mouth get deposited along with saliva, food particles and other natural substances on the surface of the teeth. If is not removed by daily brushing and flossing the plaque deposited on the teeth and under the gumline can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. If gingivitis is not appropriately treated it can lead to periodontitis. Damage to the periodontal tissue cause the teeth to become loose and even permanent damage to the teeth and jaw.
[Read: Treatment of Periodontal Disease]
But remember gum disease and periodontal diseases are very much preventable--- if you maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. You should see your dentist about once every six months and if you have gum disease consult your dentist more often.
[Read: Causes of Receding Gums]
If proper oral hygiene is not maintained, plaque builds up on the teeth and slowly spreads below the gum line. The bacteria in the plaque proliferate and lead the gums to become inflamed. This causes the gums to swell and detach from the tooth creating pockets between the teeth and gums. Plaque and food debris can collect in these pockets and bacteria also grow rapidly in these pockets. This leads to further plaque buildup, periodontitis and damage to periodontal ligament and alveolar bone (these structures support the teeth).
If plaque is not removed timely over time it becomes hardened or calcified into calculus. Calculus is commonly called tartar. Plaque attaches more to calculus as it’s surface is much rougher than tooth enamel.
Scientists are also investigating how infection of the gums can affect your overall health. However enough evidence on the effect of gum diseases or oral infections on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other serious health problems is not there. Further research is going on to determine whether the associations are causal or coincidental.
Research has proven that various types of bacteria in dental plaque are the main cause of periodontal disease. But besides this several other factors also probably contribute to it. These factors are genetic tendency, other diseases, medicines and oral habits. They increase the risk of gum disease or possibly worsen it after the infection has set in.
Genes: Genetic trait increases a person’s risk of getting periodontal disease. However it is not like ----if your parents have gum disease you will get it. If you maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly--- gum disease and periodontal diseases are very much preventable.
Smoking and tobacco use: These factors increase the risk of periodontal disease. In people with periodontal disease, smoking makes it more severe. In addition periodontal disease in smokers is resistant to treatment and is more likely to be more severe. If you stop smoking your periodontal disease can be brought under control.
Misaligned or crowded teeth, braces or bridgework: All these make it more difficult to brush or floss your teeth and therefore increase plaque and tartar formation. More plaque and more tartar increase your chance of developing gum disease. Consult your dentist to learn how to clean your teeth if you have braces or bridgework.
Read more on Periodontal Disease.