Q: What exactly is gum disease?
A: Gum disease (periodontal disease) is a chronic infection that is most often caused by plaque buildup. Over time, the plaque hardens into tartar and causes the gums to become inflamed. If left untreated, the inflammation can develop into a serious infection that attacks the bone supporting the teeth and causes the gum tissue to shrink. In serious cases it can lead to pneumonia, chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and stroke.