One of the most important things you can do to maintain your oral health — and overall health — is to practice good oral hygiene at home. Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day has a bigger impact than you may think. Without it, plaque and food can build up on your teeth, resulting in bacteria that hardens into tartar. Left untreated, tartar can irritate the gums and lead to gum disease, otherwise known as periodontal disease. Unfortunately, it is a common disease. A study by the Center for Disease Control found that half of adult Americans have some kind of periodontal disease.