Periodontitis or “gum disease” is the name of inflammatory diseases affecting the tissues that surround and support the teeth. The presence of periodontal disease has also been linked with heart disease. Gum disease only gets worse if left untreated which may lead to loosening and eventual loss of teeth. Gum disease can be slowed or prevented by regular cleaning visits. Important “risk factors” include smoking, poorly controlled diabetes, and inherited (genetic) susceptibility.