Gums are the tissue that surround and support your teeth. Gum disease is when this tissue becomes infected and is one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, which is also called periodontal disease. Plaque (the bacteria on teeth) is constantly forming, so regular dental care is important to preventing buildup that affects the gums. If you experience bleeding or swollen gums, gums that are pulling away from your teeth, bad breath or taste, loose or changing teeth, you may have signs of gum disease.