Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues that hold the teeth in place. It's usually caused by poor brushing and flossing habits that allow plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, to build up on the teeth and harden. In advanced stages, periodontal disease can cause gum pain and bleeding, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss. In the initial stage of gingivitis, bacteria in the plaque build up, causing the gums to swell and bleed easily when brushing your teeth.
Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. At this stage, there has been no irreversible damage to bones or other tissues. Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive condition and the leading cause of tooth loss among adults in the developed world. There are many common types of periodontal disease, including aggressive, chronic, and necrotitis and periodontitis associated with systemic diseases.
Regular biannual dental appointments include a periodontal exam to check for signs of gingivitis and gum disease. Periodontitis is the name of the most advanced periodontal disease, and if allowed to progress to this point, not only are the gums affected, but the bone structures that support the teeth will also be compromised.