Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis and gum disease) is a progressive disease affecting the supporting and surrounding tissue of the gums, as well as the underlying jawbone. If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in loose, unstable teeth and even tooth loss if left untreated.
Periodontal disease begins when the toxins found in plaque start to attack the soft tissue surrounding the teeth. This bacterium embeds itself in the gum and rapidly breeds, causing a bacterial infection. As the infection progresses, it starts to burrow deeper into the tissue causing inflammation or irritation between the teeth and gums. The response of the body is to destroy the infected tissue, which is why the gums appear to recede. The resulting pockets between the teeth deepen and, if no treatment is sought, the tissue which makes up the jawbone also recedes, causing unstable teeth and tooth loss.