Gum disease (periodontal disease) starts as gingivitis, red and inflamed gums. This is the result of poor dental hygiene. For lack of brushing and flossing, bacteria have multiplied and spread from tooth enamel to the gums. Their acid excretions cause tooth enamel to decay and cause gums to start withdrawing from the tooth surfaces, enlarging the tiny pockets between teeth and gums. When you do brush or floss, the gums could bleed. This is all removable by a thorough professional cleaning, and preventable by good daily care.
If gingivitis is left unchecked it progresses to full gum disease. Now the bacteria are beneath the gumline and gums have pulled further away from the teeth, creating larger and larger pockets, where bacteria can happily multiply, further enlarging the pockets, and so on, in a vicious cycle. Infection sets in and can spread into the jawbone. Since the gums are bleeding, bacteria can enter the bloodstream.
Now the infection can travel and begin to attack other bodily systems and organs. Scientists have found evidence that periodontal disease can cause heart disease and infection. Once in the circulatory system, it can travel anywhere in the body and studies may well establish a causative relationship between gum disease and many other diseases.
There is an easy solution though. Don't let things get that far. Make sure you visit us regularly to get professional cleanings and check-ups to catch decay early, and at home, brush and floss every day.