The Progression of Gum Disease The thought of going to the dentist is enough to deter many people from maintaining healthy teeth and gums. However, dentists like Adam K. Smith are trying to stress the importance of keeping the twice a year appointment in order to avoid a more serious issue of periodontal (gum) disease. The earliest stage of gum disease is gingivitis. This occurs when there is a buildup of plaque which leads to tartar and bacteria below the gum line, causing the soft tissues of the mouth to become affected. Identified by gums that are red, swollen and easy to bleed, gingivitis is reversible with a professional cleaning followed by good oral hygiene. Should gingivitis not be treated, there is a risk of developing periodontitis. The bacteria collected below the gums produce toxins which eventually destroy the bone and tissue that support the teeth. Gums will separate from the teeth, forming pockets that could lead to more infection. This further infection will cause teeth to become loose and possibly the need for an extraction of the infected tooth. If there is suspicion of gum disease, a visit to the dentist will correctly diagnose and treat the condition. With a proactive dentist like Adam K. Smith and good oral hygiene, gum disease can be reversed and prevented in the future.