Among the causes for periodontal (gum) disease are poor oral hygiene, genetic susceptibility, smoking, and other illnesses like diabetes. Periodontal maintenance involves removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Most gum diseases are preventable with proper oral hygiene. However, what can start out as gingivitis (inflamed or bleeding gums) can quickly turn into periodontitis. In such cases, tooth bone will be damaged and gums pull away from the tooth resulting in “dental pockets,” thereby exposing a dental root to infection. Symptoms include prolonged bad breath, loose teeth, painful chewing and other complications.