Although attempts have been made to reveal the relationships between bacteria and human health, little is known about the species and function of the microbial community associated with oral diseases. In this study, we report the sequencing of 16 metagenomic samples collected from dental swabs and plaques representing four periodontal states. Insights into the microbial community structure and the metabolic variation associated with periodontal health and disease were obtained. We observed a strong correlation between community structure and disease status, and described a core disease-associated community. A number of functional genes and metabolic pathways including bacterial chemotaxis and glycan biosynthesis were over-represented in the microbiomes of periodontal disease. A significant amount of novel species and genes were identified in the metagenomic assemblies. Our study enriches the understanding of the oral microbiome and sheds light on the contribution of microorganisms to the formation and succession of dental plaques and oral diseases.