Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colourless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form calculus (tartar) that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by your dentist can remove calculus.
The longer plaque and calculus are left on the teeth, the more harmful they become. The bacteria causes 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 cleaning by your dentist. This form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.