We recommend that our patients visit our office every six months for a routine hygiene examination. You might be surprised to learn that during your exam we do more than clean and check your teeth for tooth decay. In fact, tooth decay is not the number one oral health issue that affects a large percentage of American adults—it is gum disease. Approximately half of American adults are affected by gum disease in some way. Gum disease is a serious gum infection, accompanied by inflammation, caused by bacterial growth along the gumline and around the base of the tooth. Gum disease is extremely serious due to its quiet but destructive nature. Unlike tooth decay, gum disease does not cause discomfort and, at times, does not present itself until immediate treatment is needed.