In a healthy mouth, the roots of the teeth have a surrounding ligament attaching it to the bone. The gums then cover the bone and part of the teeth. There is a naturally occurring space between where the gums attach to the root called a sulcus. This space is 1-3 mm in a healthy state and is an effective seal between bacteria in the mouth and the underlying bone.
Periodontal disease, (also called gum disease) is a chronic infection of the support tissues (gums and bone) around teeth. Periodontal disease is caused by the bacteria in plaque and how your body’s immune system responds to the bacteria. Just like the gut, we have both good and bad bacteria in body. Plaque, which accumulates on teeth and gums if we do not brush or floss, is comprised mostly of virulent, harmful bacteria. If we are unable to effectively remove the bacterial plaque off the teeth, they cause the gums to mount an inflammatory response and an infection develops.