Gum disease or Periodontal Disease causes about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. Swollen, inflamed and painful gums are a sign you may have gum disease. The good news is that if found early most gum disease is reversible. If teeth and gums are not properly cleaned and cared for regularly at home by brushing and flossing, or checked by a professional hygienist and dentist, plaque builds up inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus or tarter that is very difficult to remove. Over time, the bacteria in the plaque and tarter eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. If left untreated, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.