Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when the bacteria in plaque infect the tissues that surround the teeth. The disease is progressive and starts as minor gum inflammation known as gingivitis. If left untreated, it advances into periodontitis, resulting in the disintegration of the bone structure and connective tissue that support the teeth. Not only is it the most common cause of tooth loss in adults, some studies have also suggested that gum disease is linked to other health issues like stroke and diabetes. Unfortunately, many people are completely unaware they have it, which really highlights the importance of regular checkups.