What causes periodontal disease?

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Periodontal disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that is always forming on your teeth. If teeth are not cleaned well, plaque bacteria can cause your gums to become inflamed.

Inflamed gums can pull away from the teeth, forming spaces called “pockets.” These pockets trap more plaque that cannot be removed with tooth brushing. If the pockets are not treated, the periodontal disease can get worse.

Diseases such as diabetes can place a person at higher risk for periodontal disease. Tobacco use also increases your risk of developing periodontal disease, and treatment may be less successful if you continue to smoke.