The public generally is familiar with dental caries or "cavities" and their usual treatment of restorations or "fillings". However, fewer people have heard of PERIODONTAL DISEASE. Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the gums and bone holding the teeth in, due to bacteria living beneath the gums. This is usually a painless disease until the very late stages where teeth are nearly hopeless. If left untreated, periodontal disease will cause the bone to resorb or disappear, the teeth will become loose and fall out, teeth may abscess, and halitosis or foul-smelling breath may occur. Flossing is the primary way to prevent periodontal disease and maintain a healthy mouth. The treatment for periodontal disease is simply to remove the bacteria. This is accomplished through "DEEP CLEANING" or "SCALING AND ROOT PLANING". In this procedure, the gums and teeth are numbed with anesthetic and the bacteria living on the teeth beneath the gums are removed. The gums then have an opportunity to reattach to the tooth in a healthy way in the absence of bacteria, giving the firm, pink healthy appearance we are working for. There are certain major risk factors for periodontal disease, including smoking, age, diabetes, family history of perio disease, among others.