Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

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Gingivitis—a word most of us know from common television commercials that bodes ill for any mouth. While it may sound alarming, gingivitis is actually a treatable and minor form of gum disease. On its own, there is little to fear with proper dental care. If left untreated, however, gingivitis can lead to more serious dental complications such as periodontitis.

Skip those fear-driven commercials and learn the straightforward facts about both gingivitis and periodontitis. Keep reading to explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for each of these dental concerns.

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in the mouth that leads to plaque. Gum disease can range in severity from almost unnoticeable inflammation or minor irritation to severe disease that may ultimately cause tooth loss.

Fortunately, gum disease is preventable with the support of good dental hygiene and treating any signs of disease as soon as possible.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a form of mild gum disease that most people notice when brushing. Gum inflammation with gingivitis may include noticeable bleeding of the gums after brushing or flossing. In some cases, you may see swelling in the gums when looking in a mirror or occasional bleeding without an apparent cause.

Untreated gingivitis can lead to pockets in the gums that may further breed infection and cause inflammatory responses in the body. This untreated infection can lead to periodontitis.

Symptoms of Periodontitis

Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease where the inflammation has moved to the periodontium, the area of gum tissue and bone that helps keep your teeth in place. Symptoms include the signs of gingivitis plus things like bad breath, loose teeth, receding gums, and sensitivity while eating. Severe cases of periodontitis may eventually lead to tooth loss.

Treatment for Gingivitis

Fortunately, gingivitis is typically easy to treat. Improved brushing habits combined with regular professional dental cleanings are often enough to reverse gingivitis and restore gum health. In some cases, your dentist may recommend a medicated mouthwash such as chlorhexidine.

Treatment for Periodontitis

Treatment for periodontitis includes all of the basic treatments for gingivitis, including both home hygiene and professional dental cleanings. In addition to a medicated mouthwash, periodontal patients may also be prescribed antibiotics to help treat infections and inflammation. Periodontal treatment may also include more frequent cleanings and a deep cleaning by a dental specialist.

Wrapping Up

Gum disease does not have to be a diagnosis that triggers fear. Dental professionals have many modern-day treatments to help halt and reverse the course of both gingivitis and periodontitis. Proper dental care will not only promote your overall health but alleviate the discomfort caused by gum disease.

Talk to your dentist about treating and preventing gum disease today.

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