Is periodontal disease reversible? Are there ways to keep periodontal disease from progressing? Periodontal disease is a gum infection that occurs due to poor oral hygiene habits. As a result, it allows plaque to build up and harden in the long run. If someone leaves it untreated, it can lead to tooth loss and jawbone deterioration. It would help if you identify gum disease signs and ask your dentist how to work those out.