Gingivitis – an inflammation of the gums – is the initial stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat. The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque – the soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria that forms constantly on the teeth and gums.
If the plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins (poisons) that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected. Left untreated, however, gingivitis can become periodontist and cause permanent damage to your teeth and jaw.
Tartar, sometimes called calculus, is plaque that has hardened on your teeth. Tartar can also form at and underneath the gum line and can irritate gum tissues. Tartar gives plaque more surface area on which to grow and a much stickier surface to adhere, which can lead to more serious conditions, such as cavities and gum disease.
Not only can tartar threaten the health of your teeth and gums, it is also a cosmetic problem. Because tartar is more porous, it absorbs stains easily. So if you are a coffee or tea drinker, or if you smoke, it is especially important to prevent tartar buildup.
What are Cavities?
“Cavities” is another way of saying tooth decay. Tooth decay is heavily influenced by lifestyle what we eat, how well we take care of our teeth, the presence of fluoride in our water and toothpaste. Heredity also plays a role in how susceptible your teeth may be to decay.
What is Plaque?
Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on our teeth. It is the main cause of cavities and gum disease, and can harden into tartar if not removed daily.
When should my child first go to the dentist?
Two or three years old is a good age to first bring your child into the office. They can get use to the environment and see others visiting the dentist.