The longer the plaque and tartar remain on the teeth, the more harmful they become to your gums and teeth. The bacteria may cause the gums to inflame, this is called 'Gingivitis'. If you suffer from gingivitis you will experience red or swollen gums, or gums that bleed easily. Gingivitis is one of the mildest forms of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and biannual cleans from a professional dentist or hygienist. This mild form of gum disease does not include any loss of bone and tissue that hold teeth in place.
When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to 'periodontitis' (inflammation around the teeth).
Periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called 'pockets') that are easily infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows from the gum line. The body's natural response to infection is to start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold your teeth in place. If this progressive periodontal treatment is not treated, the bones, gums and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually loosen and either fall out or possibly require removal.