Periodontal disease means an infection around the tooth. The disease begins when bacteria in plaque on your teeth irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Tobacco use, certain medications, changes in hormone levels like those during puberty or pregnancy, and even genetics may increase the risk of periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease, you may notice red or swollen gums that bleed easily, persistent bad breath, pus between the teeth and gums, loose or separating teeth and a change in the way your teeth fit together. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, you will need to visit your dentist for a “deep cleaning” to control your infection and instructions on how to care for your teeth more effectively. The disease can also complicate other conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, pneumonia, and pregnancy.