If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between gingivitis and gum disease, you’re not alone. The terms are used interchangeably in advertisements and oral care advice so often, that it can be hard to tell the two apart.
Simply put, gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease. But gum disease — also called periodontal disease or periodontitis — can also include aggressive infections that are so severe they lead to tooth loss.
Gingivitis is Reversible
Clinical gingivitis is inflammation of the gum tissues around the edges of your gumlines. Usually there’s mild swelling and/or redness. When you brush and floss, it’s normal to see some bleeding.
Gingivitis is caused by plaque bacteria and inadequate oral hygiene. Re-vamping your brushing and flossing routine is key. Even if you see some bleeding at first, that’s ok. Thoroughly cleaning your gums twice a day will usually reverse gingivitis within two weeks.
If gingivitis isn’t treated, it will progress into a more severe stage of gum disease. At that point, the gum tissues will start to detach from your tooth roots. The result is receding gumlines or “pockets” under the gums. Heavy tartar, tooth mobility, and bad breath are common. Bone loss is visible on X-rays.
Periodontal disease is closely linked with major health issues like cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and infertility. It’s important to screen for gum disease routinely so that you can treat it before your overall health suffers. And before you lose your teeth.
If you have problems with bleeding gums or it’s been more than six months since your last checkup, call Dunwoody Family & Cosmetic Dentistry today to reserve an exam.