By: J. Shahangian, DDS, MS- San Diego Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
Periodontal disease refers to the breakdown and infection of the tooth’s structure, including the surrounding bone and gums. Your child’s natural response to the bacterial infection also influences the periodontal disease. Prevention is the key because periodontal disease can later cause gum disease. Gum disease is the number one cause for the loss of teeth in adults. This is usually caused by bacteria.
Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, and is known for causing gums to be red, swollen, and easily causing bleeding of the gums. Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is completely reversible at this stage. By flossing and brushing daily, your child could eliminate gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gum disease is not painful until it advances to a more severe stage where treatment options are limited, like some other diseases. Failing to bring in your child for treatment can lead to inflammation of the surrounding bone. The disease causes the teeth to demineralize and dissolve, and later progresses into gum disease. Periodontitis is the more advanced stage where the bones and gums begin to dissolve and thus causes serious damage to the supporting bone and gums. The end result can be the loss of your child’s teeth because the tooth becomes loose.
Gum disease symptoms:
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
- Loose teeth
- Pus between your teeth and gums
- Persistent bad breath
- Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth 
 http://www.youngdentistryforchildren.com/library/2025/GingivitisGumDisease.html, accessed December 27, 2011