Gum disease is caused by bacteria from plaque buildup around the teeth. The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, a mild form of gum inflammation that can be treated with proper dental cleanings and daily oral care. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease when the inflammation from bacteria starts to form pockets in the gums. Varying forms of gum disease are treated differently. Most will require an antibiotic/antiseptic mouthwash, deep cleanings, and in serious cases, even surgery. Gum disease is preventable by daily flossing and brushing, antibacterial mouthwashes, avoidance of smoking, and annual dental checkups.