The health of your teeth depends in large part on the health of your gums. In fact, the leading cau...
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The health of your teeth depends in large part on the health of your gums. In fact, the leading cause of tooth loss is gingivitis, which means inflammation of the gums. It begins when plaque - a sticky substance made up of bacteria, saliva, and food particles--wedges between your gums and teeth. This triggers a process of inflammation in the gums around the teeth that causes the gums to slowly erode. Over time, the inflammation can cause deep pockets to form between the teeth and gums and loss of the bone that holds the teeth in place. This is known as periodontitis. Eventually, the teeth may become loose and fall out. Gum disease can also contribute to cavities. Bacteria can enter a crevice between the gum and tooth and eat its way into the tooth. If the cavity goes deep enough, it can affect the pulp at the center of the tooth. The pulp has nerves that can carry the pain all the way into jaw bone, causing excruciating pain.