Gum Disease (Periodontitis and Gingivitis)
Gum disease, also known as gingivitis or periodontal disease, ranges from mild gum inflammation to significant disease that results in profound damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Bacteria, mucus, and other particles contribute to gum disease by forming plaque. Brushing and flossing get rid of plaque, however, if the plaque isn't removed it turns into tartar, a harder substance that can only be treated by professionals. The longer plaque and tarter remain on the teeth the more likely you are to develop "gingivitis," or inflammation of the gums. When this happens the gums become red, swollen, and can easily bleed. If not treated through brushing, flossing, and regular checkups, gingivitis can advance into "periodontitis," or inflammation around the tooth. At this stage the gums retract from the teeth and form spaces that can become infected. If left untreated, the bones, tissue, and gums that support the teeth are deteriorated. At this point, a host of other diseases or illnesses may occur and medications or surgery are needed to recover.
National Institute of Dental Research