Keeping your gums healthy can go a long way in helping you maintain healthy teeth. In addition to checking your teeth at your six month dental visits, your dentist should also check the health of your gums. Specifically, he/she will look for areas that look red, swollen, and bleed easily and gums that have pulled away from the teeth. Other signs of gum disease include pus between your teeth and gums, movement in your teeth, and a change in your bite. So what causes gum disease? In a word - plaque. This is a sticky form of bacteria that, if not removed by daily brushing and flossing, can harden along the gum line forming calculus. Once this happens, it can only be removed with a professional cleaning. Gum infections can go beyond the soft tissue and progress to the bone. Some people actually lose their teeth because of poor gums health. So don't forget to brush and floss daily!