The longer plaque and tartar are on the teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria cause inflammation of the gums that is called gingivitis. In gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing, and regular cleanings by a dentist or dental hygienist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold the teeth in place.
WHAT CAUSES GUM DISEASE?
Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless "plaque" on teeth. Brushing and flossing helps get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form "tartar" that brushing doesn't clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.
Dr. James L. Johnson