Gum Disease: Periodontitis vs. Gingivitis

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Gum disease is one of the most widespread problems among the adult population. Nearly 50% of people over the age of 30 have some form of the disease. The numbers are even worse when it comes to the elderly. More than 70% of people over the age of 65 have gum disease.

Periodontitis and Gingivitis are two words no one wants to hear when they visit the dentist's office. The names alone are enough to scare most. But have you ever wondered what are the differences between the two diseases? That’s just what we’ll explore today.

If you want to know the differences between Periodontitis and Gingivitis, read what our Downey Park Family Dental experts in Modesto have to say about it.

Gingivitis: Gum Inflammation

Gingivitis is a manifestation of microorganisms that accumulate in the areas between teeth. The disease happens when you have too much tartar on your teeth for a long time. It makes your gum become extra sensitive. So much so that you experience bleeding while brushing teeth. 

People with gingivitis may notice that their gums have become enlarged and red. Bad breath is another clear sign of gingivitis.

But gingivitis is one of the mildest forms of gum disease. If you fail to treat it properly, gingivitis may develop into periodontitis, which is a much more serious problem. In essence, gingivitis is a sign from our teeth and gums that we must be more proactive about our oral health.

Cleaning teeth twice a day and visiting your dentist every few months are among the preventive measures that can help prevent gingivitis.

Periodontitis: Gingival Infection

Periodontitis is an oral infection that starts to form when plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria and food particles, accumulates on the teeth or gums. It manifests in a form of small pockets on your teeth and gums.  

When you develop periodontitis, brushing your teeth regularly will only make things worse. Toothbrush bristles can push the built-up bacteria into these pockets, which start to grow deeper, collecting more and more layers of plaque.

The toxins from bacteria in plaque team up with enzymes that naturally defend us against infection to break down the bone and soft tissue that keeps your teeth in place. In the process, gum tissue gets damaged and deepened by the pockets.

Severe symptoms of periodontitis include receding gums, pain when chewing, and loose teeth. These signs indicate that you should seek treatment, as soon as possible. 

Periodontitis vs. Gingivitis: The Differences

How do you know how serious your gum disease is? Now, even if you have some of the symptoms, you shouldn’t start panicking right away. The disease might be in its early stages. But how do you know whether you have gingivitis or periodontitis?

 Here are some of the tips from our Downey Park specialists on how to tell the difference:

  • How Old You Are: Preteens and teens are more likely to develop gingivitis, rather than periodontitis. So if you’re still young, no need to worry. 
  • Pain While Chewing: Chewing pain can indicate that your periodontal disease has progressed from gingivitis to full-on tooth decay.
  • Tooth Condition: Gingivitis usually does not cause teeth to become loose. Teeth can only become displaced, or lose their roots if the patient has periodontitis.
  • Bad Breath: If you have not taken care of your gingivitis, it may progress to periodontitis where bacteria will gather in your mouth and cause bad breath. 

Prevent and Treat Gum Disease at Downey Park Family Dental

It is vital to call your dentist right away if you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease. That will allow you to treat the problem before it becomes anything too serious. If you want to get a checkup with Downey Park Family Dental, contact us online or call our Modesto team at (209) 529-0674 to schedule an appointment.

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