It’s estimated that at least half of adult Americans have some kind of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. An infection of the tissue that supports the teeth, gum disease is also a major cause of tooth loss. The main reason people develop this condition is poor oral hygiene habits. Not properly taking care of your teeth allows plaque to build up, which is a sticky film of bacteria. The plaque then hardens into tartar and can only be removed by your dentist. It’s a snowball effect that can be easily avoided by brushing and flossing and routine dental checkups.