Periodontal (gum) disease is a silent disease, much like heart disease. It is an infection of the gums that is the number one reason for tooth loss. Plaque is a sticky film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates it grows under the gums, it harbors bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums. The early stage of gum disease known as Gingivitis. Left untreated, Gingivitis becomes Periodontitis which ultimately destroys the tissue surrounding your teeth AND the jaw bone that holds your teeth in place. Except for bad breath and gums that bleed, there are very few early warning signals. The disease advances silently, often without pain, and before you know it, you are losing your teeth and you don't know why.
Tooth loss is only the most obvious indicator of gum disease. Scientific research has discovered linkage between gum disease and stroke, heart disease, diabetes - even an increased risk for pregnant women. When your gums become diseased, your entire immune system is weakened. Every day more science is showing the connection of the mouth and body. Examples include cancers, arthritis, difficulty in conception, etc.
In the past, fear of painful dental surgery has kept people with gum disease from seeking the care they needed. Well, those days are gone forever.