Gum disease affects the gums and bone supporting your teeth. It begins with plaque, a soft, sticky substance that builds up on the your teeth. Plaque is mostly made up of bacteria, which feed on sugar from food and drink. Tartar, formed by hardened plaque encourages plaque to gather and makes it harder to remove. If plaque is allowed to build up, the bacteria in it can make gums sore and infected. They will look red and puffy and will probably bleed when you brush them.
The gum will then start to detach from the tooth, forming pockets in which plaque can gather. This leads to the bone that supports the tooth slowly start to be lost. Because this process is usually painless, it can become very bad without you noticing. If left unchecked, gum disease will lead to loss of the teeth.
Regular scaling and polishing by the hygienist help keep your teeth and gums healthy by making it easier for you to keep your teeth clean at home. You should see and feel a difference. The dental hygienist will advise you on the correct home cleaning aids to maintain a healthy mouth.
If your gums bleed when you brush you may have early gum disease. Regular scaling helps to stop the progression of the disease and can help eliminate it altogether by thorough cleaning, both by the hygienist and yourself at home.
In more severe cases of gum disease, deeper cleaning may be required along with more frequent visits.