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When plaque accumulates it can causes gum inflammation (gingivitis). Inflamed gum tissue is characterised by redness and swelling. The gums may bleed when you clean your teeth. If the plaque is not removed, it grows in the crevice between tooth and gums (the gingival sulcus). On the root surface of the tooth, the plaque hardens into tartar which has a rough surface where bacteria attach even easier.
As the supporting bone gradually breaks down, the tooth loses more and more of its attachment. The gum inflammation has developed into periodontitis. It is a slow process which often goes on unnoticed and without pain. In time the tooth will become loose and in the worst case may be lost.
Consult your dentist if you experience problems with swollen or inflamed gums.