You may be surprised to know what problem greatly affects the oral health of many Americans. Would you be surprised to learn that tooth decay is not the number one dental issue that affects most American adults? The answer is gum disease. In fact, there is a chance that you are suffering from the effects of gum disease at this very moment and are not aware that the underlying problem is there due to its silent nature. Gum disease is a serious gum infection, accompanied by inflammation, caused by bacterial growth along the gumline and around the base of the tooth.