Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. It most commonly develops in response to the biofilm cal...
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Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. It most commonly develops in response to the biofilm called plaque, which is made up of bacteria. Once the bacteria are anchored, they bind to other bacteria floating around the mouth to form a kind of web. As the web grows, it can hold onto more bacteria and the plaque thickens. When the plaque is allowed to build up, it attracts more types of bacteria. Over time, it hardens at the base of the teeth into a material called tartar. The plaque and tartar irritate the gums. The immune system sends white blood cells to fight the bacteria, and the gums become inflamed. Chronic inflammation causes pockets to form where the gums and teeth separate. As plaque spreads below the gum line, bone and tissue can start to break down. Active inflammation may contribute to formation of clots in blood vessels. Bacteria entering the blood stream activate platelets and increase clotting factors, which work with platelets to form blood clots.