Periodontal Disease and Gingivitis | Blog

The Difference between Gingivitis and Periodontitis

In the beginning stage of gingivitis, the bacteria in plaque buildup. This causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed easily during brushing. Even though the gums may be irritated, the teeth are firmly still planted in their sockets. There is no tissue damage or irreversible bone loss that has occurred in this stage.

When gingivitis is left untreated, it turns into periodontitis. In this stage the inside layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and this forms a pocket. These small pockets collect debris and become infected. Your immune system fights these bacteria as the plaque grows below the gum line. While the disease is progressing the pockets get deeper and more bone and gum tissue are destroyed. While this is happening the teeth are no longer set in place they loosen up and tooth loss occurs. The leading cause of tooth loss in adults is Gum Disease.


Causes for Gum Disease

  • Smoking makes it difficult for the gum tissue to repair itself.
  • Hormonal Changes: such as those that happen during pregnancy, menopause, puberty, and menstruation, cause the gums to become more sensitive, making it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Illnesses can affect the condition of your gums. Including diseases like cancer or HIV that affect the immune system.  Patients with Diabetes are at a higher risk for developing infections, including cavities and gum disease.
  • Medications tend to affect oral health because some lessen the flow of saliva, which is a protective effect on teeth and gums.
  • Poor Oral Health Habits like not flossing or brushing daily will make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Genetics (Family History) also can be a contributing factor in the development of gingivitis.


Symptoms of Gum Disease

Although gum disease may silently progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even within the later stages of the disease. Some symptoms may lead you to some form of the disease.

  • Bleeding gums during and after brushing
  • Tender, Swollen or Red Gums
  • Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
  • Shifting or loose teeth
  • Gums Receding
  • Deep pocketing between gums and teeth
  • Changes within the way your teeth fit together when biting down or the fitting of partial dentures.



Even if you don’t recognize any symptoms it may be possible that you have some degree of gum disease. Only your dentist or a periodontist can determine the progression of gum disease. Every case can be treated differently based on your particular situation. Please visit your dentist regularly to maintain healthy teeth and gums for a lifetime.