The cause of plaque-induced gingivitis is bacterial plaque, which acts to initiate the body's host response. This, in turn, can lead to destruction of the gingival tissues, which may progress to destruction of the periodontal attachment apparatus.
The plaque accumulates in the small gaps between teeth, in the gingival grooves and in areas known as ''plaque traps'': locations that serve to accumulate and maintain plaque.
Examples of plaque traps include bulky and overhanging restorative margins, claps of removable partial dentures and calculus (tartar) that forms on teeth.
Although these accumulations may be tiny, the bacteria in them produce chemicals, such as degrative enzymes, and toxins, such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS, otherwise known as endotoxin) or lipoteichoic acid (LTA), that promote an inflammatory response in the gum tissue.
This inflammation can cause an enlargement of the gingiva and subsequent ''pseudopocket'' formation.
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