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Periodontitis is a gum infection that begins in the soft tissue and, without treatment, can spread into the jawbone. Eventually, it can lead to loose or lost teeth. Although periodontitis is common, it is largely preventable by maintaining good oral hygiene and, in most cases, can be treated successfully.

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1. Causes

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums caused by tartar and plaque on the teeth. Diligent oral care can reverse it, but if untreated, gingivitis leads to periodontitis. In the latter, the gums swell, forming pockets of open space between the tissue and the teeth. This open space is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. When an infection develops, the immune system fights off the bacteria, but plaque continues to form under the gumline, eventually leading to the breakdown of the bone around the teeth.

gingivitis periodontitis gums AH86 / Getty Images
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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.