Dental Tips Blog


What’s the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

Posted in Gum Disease

Toothpaste advertising often touts anti-gingivitis benefits. Your dentist talks about preventing periodontitis.

Is there a difference between these two words… or are they the same thing?

Gingivitis: The Beginning

Gingivitis is inflammation of gum tissues. Your gums should hug your teeth tightly, but they get rolled, puffy, and red when you develop gingivitis. This inflammatory process is an immune response to plaque bacteria near the gums. You can develop mild gingivitis within a couple weeks of inadequate brushing and flossing.

The good news is that gingivitis is reversible within about 10-14 days with good oral hygiene.

For some people, they never experience anything worse than a little gingivitis. But inflamed gums can also open the door for a much more serious infection.

The Dangers of Periodontitis

Periodontitis refers to the inflammation and immune response in the bone and deeper gum tissues around your teeth. There’s a network of ligaments that attach your gums and teeth to the bone in your mouth. Bacteria can cause them to detach, with the bone shrinking away during the process; unfortunately, the damage is often permanent.

Untreated gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. When periodontitis is left unchecked, it can cause tooth loss.

Do You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis?

Gingivitis and periodontitis can share some of the same symptoms:

  • Smelly breath (periodontitis is often worse)
  • Bleeding on brushing and flossing
  • Tender, swollen gums
  • Teeth yellowed from plaque and tartar buildup

Gingivitis may be a less serious infection, but the symptoms are often so similar that you can’t afford to ignore any sign of gum inflammation.

Get to a dentist right away if you notice any signs of bleeding, swollen gums. A periodontal evaluation may be just what you need to prevent the consequences of gum disease.

Posted on behalf of:
Montevallo Family Dentistry
711 Wadsworth St
Montevallo, AL 35115
(205) 665-2224

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