Gum Disease or Periodontal Disease begins with bacterial growth in the mouth and occurs in two progressive stages- gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is the predecessor of periodontitis. It is caused by plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. It causes inflammation, redness and bleeding of the gums. It is a mild condition in which no damage has been done to the bone or connective tissues and often goes unnoticed. When left untreated it develops into periodontitis. In this case the bone and connective tissues that hold the teeth in place are damaged and eventually results in tooth loss. The main cause of gum disease is plaque. Hormonal changes during pregnancy or puberty or menstruation, illness such as diabetes or cancer or HIV, some medications, poor oral hygiene or family history of dental diseases may also cause gum diseases. Treatment varies from individual to individual based on the extent of the disease, response to earlier treatments and your overall health. It could vary from non surgical therapies to control bacterial growth to surgical methods to restore supportive tissues. Practicing good oral hygiene habits goes a long way in removing plaque and controlling gum diseases.