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The Difference Between Gingivitis & Periodontitis

In 2012, the Center for Disease Control reported that almost half (47%) of all Americans over the age of 30 have some degree of periodontal disease. Even though it’s a disease the affects so many people, most Americans are uneducated about the causes, symptoms, and types of periodontal disease (gum disease).

One major gap in understanding is in the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis.

What is the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

Gingivitis and Periodontitis are both types of periodontal disease. The key difference though is that gingivitis is reversible, while periodontitis is not. This is because periodontitis involves bone loss, which cannot be recovered.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a term used to describe gum inflammation that is caused by excess plaque on the teeth. Many times people will have gingivitis and not be aware, because the symptoms aren’t necessarily painful. Symptoms may include gums that bleed easily when brushed or flossed, swollen gums, or bright red gums.

What is Periodontitis?

As gingivitis progresses, it turns into periodontitis, a more severe type of periodontal disease. As gums inflame and recede, they begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets where bacteria build up. Typically people begin to notice when they have periodontitis because they may experience increased sensitivity, pain when chewing, sores on the inside of their mouth, or loss of teeth.

Gingivitis and Periodontitis Treatments

The treatment that your dentist prescribes will be based on the severity of your disease. If your dentist diagnoses your case early enough, they may prescribe a more strict brushing and flossing routine or more frequent visits. More serious periodontitis cases however may necessitate periodontal surgery.

The important thing is that you do something about it! An active infection in your mouth opens up your body to other types of infections including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Posted on May 15, 2016
Image Credit: © Dreamstime.com

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