At North Star Dentistry, we aren’t just concerned with teeth. It’s our job to keep the entire mouth healthy, including the gums. If untreated, problems with the gums can cause pain and damage to the teeth.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a bacterial infection of the gums and tissues that support your teeth. It is caused most often by the build-up of plaque and tartar when teeth are not routinely brushes, flossed or professionally cleaned.

Periodontal Disease

It all begins with a buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a bacterial film that constantly forms around our teeth. Daily oral hygiene cleans away this film, keeping everything safe and healthy.

Poor or non-existent flossing and brushing allow this biofilm to stay there, eventually hardening into tartar. Once tartar begins to build around the teeth, it can only be cleaned out professionally. Tartar not only inflames the area around it, but provides an ideal surface for the gathering of even more plaque, and by extension, more tartar.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis

There are two main categories of gum disease: Gingivitis is a milder form, and periodontitis is more severe.

It can be characterized by red or swollen gums, tenderness, chronic bad breath, and minor bleeding. Gingivitis often doesn’t feel particularly problematic. It’s just a little gum redness, after all.

Irritation from exposure to the plaque bacteria incites a response from the body. Gums swell and redden even further. Bone begins to recede, taking the gums with it, and exposing much more of the tooth structure. In this advanced stage, plaque and tartar creep down below the original gum line, irritating the surrounding tissues even further.

Eventually, all of this will cause the tooth to loosen and/or decay.


A consistent brushing and flossing routine is absolutely vital in the prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases. However, once tartar buildup begins, regular brushing cannot remove it. It is necessary to come into the office for a deep cleaning.

Our professionals will clear out all buildup and allow your gums to heal and your teeth to stay safe. If your gums show any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to give us a call right away. North Star Dental will take care of you.