When patients visit our office for a routine hygiene examination and cleaning, we do more than look for tooth decay and clean their teeth. We also inspect their teeth, mouth and gums for signs of various diseases that can seriously compromise not only their oral health, but their overall health as well. One such disease we look for is gum disease. Gum disease affects about half of American adults and is also commonly referred to as gingivitis or periodontitis. It is an infection that occurs in the gums and along the gumline. Gum disease should be treated as soon as possible because it can lead to severe issues such as missing teeth and jawbone deterioration.