Gingivitis vs Periodontitis

It's important to know the difference between gingivitis vs periodontitis. While they are connected, they're also quite different. We're talking about the two and how to prevent them.
Dr Joseph Cipriano

Gingivitis vs periodontitis is what we're talking about today. If you think you've never heard of periodontitis before, it's because you've probably heard it called by it's more commonly known name, gum disease. Today, we'll be talking about how gingivitis and periodontitis are connected and how they're different. As both a reconstructive and family dental services office, it's important to us that you know and understand these similarities and differences, as well as how to keep periodontitis at bay.

Gingivitis vs Periodontitis

To those who have not gone to dental school, the descritption of both of these gum conditions sounds very similar. Both of them are an inflammation of the gums, however, periodontitis is a markedly worse inflammation than simple gingivitis.

What is Gingivitis

In our previous post on gingivitis facts, we talked about what gingivitis really is - inflammation of the gums. Although most people think of all sorts of horrors when they hear the term gingivitis, it really is simply the medical term for inflammation of the gums, and we all have it to a certain extent.

Gingivitis is cause by bacteria in the mouth which irritates the gums, causing inflammation. Even those with the most stringent oral health regimen can't get all the bacteria out of their mouth, so we all have a certain amount of gingivitis. If you practice good oral healthcare, and you have no underlying conditions, you'll most likely be fine.

What is Periodontitis

Periodontitis is the medical term for inflammation of the tissues surrounding the teeth. It's an advanced case of gingivitis. It's commonly called gum disease because it is, in fact, a disease of the gums.

Periodontitis is the natural progression of gingivitis that has been allowed to go unchecked for a prolonged period of time. The simple inflammation of the gums turns into inflammation of the gums and the surrounding tissues. It can result in receding gums, loosening of the teeth, bone loss and eventually the loss of teeth.

What Causes Periodontitis

There are a number of causes for periodontitis, but the leading cause is poor oral healthcare. Lack of flossing and not staying on a brushing routine are the main culprits. When combined, these two allow for an excess buildup of bacteria in the mouth which will cause gingivitis to worsen over time. This, in turn, leads to periodontitis.

Other causes of periodontitis include chronic illness that weakens the immune system and genetics.

Symptoms of Periodontitis

There are several symptoms of periodontitis. If you have any of these, it's important that you visit us or your own dentist immediately to address the situation.

  • Swollen or puffy gums
  • Bright red, dusky red or purplish gums
  • Gums that feel tender when touched
  • Gums that bleed easily
  • Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing
  • Spitting out blood when brushing or flossing your teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Pus between your teeth and gums
  • Loose teeth or loss of teeth
  • Painful chewing
  • New spaces developing between your teeth
  • Gums that pull away from your teeth (recede), making your teeth look longer than normal
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite

How to Prevent Periodontitis

It's easy to reduce your risk of developing periodontitis. As with so many oral health conditions, this one is usually easily prevented by simply practicing good oral hygiene habits. To reduce your risk:

  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Use a mouthwash to help remove more bacteria
  • Get your twice-yearly cleaning
  • Visit your dentist if you notice anything out of the ordinary

Gingivitis vs Periodontitis - Knowledge is Power

Now that you know the difference between gingivitis vs periodontitis, you're better armed to keep your mouth healthy. Help prevent periodontitis by practicing good oral hygiene habits and visiting your dentist twice a year for cleanings. In addition, if you notice any changes in your mouth, contact your dentist right away.

If you're in the Staten Island area and you need family dental services, give us a call. At Healthy Smiles, we're always happy to help you with whatever oral healthcare services you may need.