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Many people are often confused between Gingivitis and Periodontitis, if they have ever heard of them in the first place. A more layman term for each of these would be gum inflammation and gum disease respectively. Are you aware of the differences between the two? How do you distinguish between them and what are the signs that tell them apart? The following outlines some useful information for you to discern between the two and if it applies, to help you seek treatment early.

The differences in gum problems

Gingivitis will usually occur first. It is only when Gingivitis is left untreated that it will progress to Periodontitis. However, Gingivitis does not always lead to the more serious gum disease.

In addition, Periodontitis refers to the breaking down of gum and bone tissue. This happens when the bacterial toxins break down the connection between gum and teeth. As such, your gum and bone tissue will gradually become damaged, making tooth loss a probable issue.

The differences in causes

Gingivitis is the accumulation of bacteria in plaque which will result in gum inflammation, with occasional gum bleeding when brushing. While plaque is usually the main cause, there are other reasons for its occurrence, such as hormonal changes, illnesses, medication, bad oral hygiene, smoking or even family history.

Hormonal changes due to pregnancy, menstruation, puberty or menopause may deem your gum more sensitive and hence more susceptible to gum inflammation. Illnesses like Cancer and HIV affects the body’s immune system, which in turn makes it easier for Gingivitis to develop. Constant medication will reduce the flow of saliva which is integral in protecting your gums and teeth. Doing so may in turn cause stunted growth of gum tissues. People with bad oral hygiene or heavy smokers may also be more likely to experience gum inflammation.

Periodontitis, however, happens when Gingivitis is left untreated. It occurs when the inner layer of your gum comes away from your teeth. In other words, there are pockets or spaces in between your teeth and gums, making it easy for them to get infected. With the growing infection, your teeth may come loose. Periodontitis is the leading reason for tooth loss in many adults today.

The differences in symptoms

If your gums bleed easily or if you have a lot of plaque, it is advisable to at least pay attention to better oral hygiene in preventing Gingivitis. It is also comparatively less possible for you to experience very bad breath than if you have Periodontitis.

Although Periodontitis may not have obvious symptoms, you can still tell from the more subtle warning signs. These would include swollen, receding and bleeding gums, as well as bad breath. Having loose teeth or spaces in between teeth and gums are also telltale signs. It could also be something worth noting if the fit of your teeth seems to be different upon biting.

If you need to be concerned about any of these two conditions, be sure to seek professional help in getting the appropriate dental treatment, such as tooth scaling, root planning, flap surgery and grafting. Fret not, as they can be treated. Start by brushing and flossing everyday!