"In Your Mouth It's Germ Warefare!"
How Your Gum Disease Starte
We fight a battle against bacteria (germs)
everyday. Millions of these microscopic monsters live,
work, and play on our teeth in a soft white substance
called plaque. Unwelcome guests, the bacteria (germs)
feed on left over food particles, creating acid as a
by-product of their feasting.
It is this acid that eats into tooth enamel to
create cavities. The very same bacteria also pour out
volatile sulfur compounds that cause bad
Daily brushing and flossing remove plaque
bacteria from our teeth, keeping their populations in
check. The problem begins when we fail to floss or
brush correctly. In the areas we miss, plaque
bacteria hardens (calcifies) into tartar. Tartar can no
longer be removed by simple brushing and flossing but can
only be removed by your dentist.
When bacteria turns ugly
Over time, levels of more dangerous types of
bacteria build up within tartar. Mean and vengeful, these
bacteria produce toxins that irritate and inflame the
gums. This condition is known as gingivitis, the first
stage of gum disease.
If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to
periodontal disease - a condition where bacteria and
their toxins invade not only the gums, but also the bones
and the structures supporting your teeth. This damages
the bones of the jaw and causes teeth to fall
Surprisingly, this bacterial invasion is not the
only thing that damages gum tissue. Your body's own
immune system ends up contributing to the destruction of
Normally, your body produces chemicals called
cytokines and collagenases that fight off bacterial
infection. This is designed only for short term
If the infection is long-standing, like that
associated with gum disease, these chemicals start to
turn against your very own body, furthering damaging
gums, connective tissue, and the bones holding your teeth
Next... We'll learn how things become even
worse, threatening your general health.