Healthy gums are important for many reasons. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can lead to painful or loose teeth, and the ultimate loss of one or many teeth. Studies have shown a connection between gum disease and general health, especially cardiovascular health. Halitosis, or bad breath, can be the direct result of periodontal disease.
Periodontal diseases are mainly the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. In its early stage, called gingivitis, the gums can become swollen and red, and they may bleed. In its more serious form, called periodontitis, the gums can pull away from the tooth, bone can be lost, and the teeth may loosen or even fall out. Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults. Periodontal disease and tooth decay are the two biggest threats to dental health. (courtesy of CDC)