Periodontal disease occurs as a result of the body’s reaction to bacterial plaque. Plaque is the white sticky film that builds up on your teeth within a day or so of the teeth being cleaned. There are over 300 identified species of bacteria in plaque, not all of which contribute to disease. Different people respond to these bacteria in different ways. In periodontal disease, the presence of harmful plaque bacteria leads to a destructive immune response that causes loss of bone and gum tissue around the teeth, causing eventual tooth loss if uncontrolled.
Plaque built up underneath the gums eventually leads to the formation of a gum pocket and tartar build up on the root surface. Tartar must be physically removed by a dental professional to allow the gums to heal properly.
The formation of bacterial plaque only takes 24 hours to occur. After professional cleaning, meticulous cleaning of the teeth at home on a daily basis will help prevent any further disease from occurring. If this is not done, the gum pockets are completely reinfected with bacteria within 6 weeks and failure of treatment may occur.