The phylogenetic characteristics of microbial communities associated with periodontitis have been well studied, however, little is known about the functional endowments of this ecosystem. The present study examined 73 microbial assemblages from 25 individuals with generalized chronic periodontitis and 25 periodontally healthy individuals using whole genome shotgun sequencing. Core metabolic networks were computed from taxa and genes identified in at least 80% of individuals in each group. 50% of genes and species identified in health formed part of the core microbiome, while the disease-associated core microbiome contained 33% of genes and only 1% of taxa. Clinically healthy sites in individuals with periodontitis were more aligned with sites with disease than with health. 68% of the health-associated metagenome was dedicated to energy utilization through oxidative pathways, while in disease; fermentation and methanogenesis were predominant energy transfer mechanisms. Expanded functionality was observed in periodontitis, with unique- or over-representation of genes encoding for fermentation, antibiotic resistance, detoxification stress, adhesion, invasion and intracellular resistance, proteolysis, quorum sensing, Type III/IV secretion systems, phages and toxins in the disease-associated core microbiome. However, different species or consortia contributed to these functions in each individual. Several genes, but not species, demonstrated robust discriminating power between health and disease.