Periodontitis or gum disease is the infection of the soft and hard structures that support your teeth i.e. your gums and the jaw bone that surrounds the base of your teeth.
In its early stage, known as gingivitis, the gums become swollen and red due to inflammation: the body’s natural response to the presence of harmful bacteria. The presence of this bacteria is usually due to poor oral hygiene. Other risk factors of gum disease include: smoking, diabetes and periods of significant hormonal change (such as puberty and pregnancy).
If left untreated, the harmful bacteria involved in gum disease can lead to irreversible damage and even loss of the tooth. The treatment and management of periodontitis is crucial as it has also been linked to other systemic conditions including some forms of heart disease.