Prevention is key when it comes to caring for your teeth and gums. Once you have periodontal disease, dental professionals can only help you maintain it and keep it from spreading, flaring, and causing future dental problems. Periodontal disease starts out as an infection of the gums also known as gingivitis. It starts out as plaque, an opaque film on the teeth that hardens to form tartar. As tartar accumulates, it harbors bacteria that attack the soft tissue around the gums. This leads to bad breath and bleeding gums. Over time, if left untreated, gingivitis becomes periodontitis which is what destroys the tissue around your teeth and it’s bone. Poor dental hygiene, poor nutrition and tobacco usage can all play a role in periodontal disease.