People who let mild gum disease, called gingivitis, progress without improving their oral hygiene habits or seeking dental care are at most risk of developing periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease. If you don’t brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day, plaque and tartar can build up and create unhealthy gums.
Periodontitis, if left untreated, can result in bone and tooth loss. Smoking can increase your risk for periodontitis, as can some medications, viral or fungal infections, and chronic medical conditions such as diabetes. Regular dental care can remove plaque and tartar and identify early stages of gum disease, when it is easiest to reverse.