Plaque and tartar contain high levels of bacteria, thus when not removed properly from teeth and gums, it can cause decay, gingivitis and periodontitis. Periodontal disease is a combination of disease of the gums and the supporting tissue of the teeth. Smoking has been linked to the increased severity of periodontal diseases.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums. Inflamed gums appear red or swollen, and will commonly bleed on brushing or flossing. This occurs when plaque and tartar is not removed from the base of the tooth. The gingival inflammation causes a pocket to develop between the gum and tooth, which then fills with plaque and tartar leading to periodontitis.
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis is left untreated. The inflammation and Infection spreads from the gums to the supporting ligaments, and bone around the tooth. This progressive and irreversible loss of support causes the tooth to loosen, and eventually fall out. Periodontitis is the primary cause of tooth loss in Australian adults. Periodontitis is uncommon in childhood, but increases in incidence from adolescence.