Periodontal therapy is an important part of preventative dentistry. If you have gingivitis or gum disease, the dentist or hygienist may recommend periodontal therapy, also called scaling and root planing. In the presence of gingivitis or gum disease, there are more harmful bacteria below the gums than are present in a patient with no gingivitis or gum disease. These bacteria can lead to infection of the gums and destruction of the gums and bones supporting the teeth. Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss, causes bad breath, and has even been linked to heart disease, strokes, and uncontrolled diabetes. Make sure that regular dental cleanings are part of your healthy habits!