Periodontal disease, often called gum disease, is actually an infection in the gums and tissues that support your teeth. When plaque and food particles are left on teeth, a build-up of bacteria occurs in that crevice just below the gum line. As the bacteria grow and thrive, they feed on the tissue that attaches to your tooth and causes the supportive tissue to break down, creating a loose pocket. If this condition is allowed to worsen teeth may actually become loose and mobile which could lead to tooth loss and pain. In fact, gum disease, not aging, is the number one reason that people in America lose teeth.