Strong and healthy gums are an important part of good oral health. Two conditions that prevent you from keeping gums in good shape are gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease).
But what is the difference between these two conditions? And what are the potential consequences if left untreated?
Gingivitis is a common and mild disease that affects the gums, causing irritation, redness and swelling. Because the effects are mild and often not very painful, many suffer from the disease unknowingly.
Signs and symptoms include:
- Swollen gums
- Gums with a red or purplish color
- Gums that have become tender or painful to touch
- Bleeding after brushing and/or flossing
- Bad breath
If left untreated, gingivitis often progresses to become periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. However, gingivitis may also be reversed with a good oral care routine.
Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
More than inflammation of the gums, Periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis or gum disease) is an actual infection. If left untreated, gingivitis usually progresses to periodontitis.
In addition to all of the signs and symptoms of gingivitis, those suffering from periodontitis may also show evidence of the following:
- Receding gums
- Mouth sores
- Appearance of deep pockets between teeth and gums
- Loose (or shifting) teeth
The consequences of periodontitis are more serious than those of gingivitis. If bacteria reaches the area below the gum line, it will eventually attack the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place – potentially causing teeth to fall out. Additionally, the bacteria that cause chronic gum disease may enter the blood stream and spread throughout the body. Researchers have linked gum disease to serious conditions such as increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and pre-term birth.
Don’t Delay Treatment
As you can see, the effects of both gingivitis and periodontitis are serious. And remember, gingivitis can progress to more advanced gum disease very quickly. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms above, make sure to set up an appointment at the Yuba City Dentistry Group today.