The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. This is inflammation of the gums. The direct cause is plaque build up. It is the initial stage of gum disease and is the easiest to treat. Gingivitis can be reversed however, if it progresses, it can lead to the more detrimental periodontitis.
Periodontitis or periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss. There are different stages of periodontal disease and it can affect people at different stages of their life. Periodontal disease affects the supporting tissues of the teeth. As the disease progresses, the bone that holds the teeth in position is lost leading to loose teeth.
There are many reasons people may have an increased risk of periodontal disease. These include: smoking, poor oral hygiene, pregnancy and diabetes to name a few.