The word periodontal means around (peri) and tooth (dontal). Tooth decay along with periodontal disease is the most prevalent diseases in the world. It is a chronic infectious inflammation. If the total surface area of loose tissue around your teeth were unwrapped and measured, the area would be about nine square inches; about the size of your forearm. 80% of all adults have had some degree of periodontal disease, sites the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, its in the mouth, out-of-sight, so it does not get attention.
Both periodontal disease and tooth decay (or gingivitis) is caused by bacteria. The bacteria in the mouth can be divided into two types: aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic bacteria live off and reproduce in air and are mostly beneficial. The anaerobic live in the absence of air and are mostly pathological.
There are between 400-500 different species of bacteria in the mouth. No other place in or on the body house that kind of diversity of bacteria. The mouth is moist, dark, and acidic. It has a constant warm temperature and a steady supply of carbohydrates. Bacteria thrive in between teeth and under the gum line where the growing conditions are ideal.
The taste and smell in the mouth upon waking up in the morning is actually the excrement from the anaerobic bacteria. The film is acidic and forms a sticky hydrophobic (water resistant) shield around the tooth, called plaque. Water alone does not work to remove the plaque. Air or water are further prevented from reaching and removing the anaerobic bacteria along the gum line because the bacteria acts like a gasket around the tooth. Something else is needed to break through the grease barrier.
Every hour bacteria (good or bad) reproduce exponentially. During a professional cleaning, as much bacteria that can possibly be removed is. Even after a dental office cleaning, within twenty-four hours, the bacteria will multiply to produce heavy concentrations of bacteria. One can not remove the amount of bacteria at home as the dentist can in the office. If there are restorations, crowns, bridges, orthodontic appliances, wisdom teeth, and existing periodontal disease are present, or the patient does not floss, one starts out with dangerous levels of bacteria even after brushing ones teeth.
That is why cleaning ones teeth both at home and professionally is crucial to avoiding and/or treating periodontal disease.