Did you know that more than 64.7 million—that’s 47.2%—of Americans have some form of periodontitis?
But this has become a common problem in the U.S. with individuals aged 65 and older most likely to be diagnosed with some form of the gum disease.
However, when it comes to the term “gum disease”, it’s easy to be confused between gingivitis and periodontal disease.
This is because both affect the gums and have similar symptoms. Lack of information can make it difficult for patients to differentiate between the two. This is because most websites online do not provide enough information about these diseases.
What is Gingivitis?
What exactly is gingivitis and how does it affect our oral health? Gingivitis is the inflammation of gums because of excessive buildup of plaque around the teeth. Plaque builds up in the small gaps between teeth in “plaque traps” and “gingival grooves.” When this happens, slowly and gradually, your teeth go into decay mode. This is the start of gum disease—the first stage is called “gingivitis.”
Symptoms of Gingivitis:
Swollen gums are the first sign of gingivitis. If you notice your gums starting to change and turning bright red or purple, followed by bad breath and gum sensitivity, you know you have gingivitis.
When you brush your teeth, you will notice blood on your toothbrush. This is because gingivitis weakens the gums, making them prone to bleeding. Of course, it could also be gum sensitivity but it’s best to get it checked out ASAP.
If left untreated, gingivitis can have really bad effects on your oral health. It can become the cause of a deeper problem. When left untreated, gingivitis spreads to the bone supporting the teeth and the ligaments. This can cause the destruction of ligaments and the jaw bone. Your teeth will loosen and there will be space between them. Your gums will also become filled with pus. Once this happens, you start developing a severe form of gum disease—periodontitis.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is the last stage of gum disease. Instead of plaque buildup, periodontal disease is a proper infection. This means that your immune system cannot fight back adequately. And when this happens, the results can be devastating. It can lead to bone loss, bleeding gums, unbearable pain whenever you eat, and gap between the teeth and gums.
Symptoms of Periodontal Disease:
The first thing you’ll notice is there will be space between your teeth, (known as ‘pockets’) which will encourage more bacteria to buildup. Your gums will be bright red, shiny, sensitive and bleed easily. You will also get mouth sores.
If left untreated, gum disease can completely destroy your teeth. Your teeth will fall apart, become loose or even fall out. The bone that supports your teeth and gums will be destroyed as well.
The main difference between gingivitis and periodontal disease is that the latter is a severe form of the former. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can turn into periodontal disease. Gingivitis is curable with good oral health but you need to be extremely careful and regularly visit your dentist. However, once gingivitis transforms into periodontal disease, the effects are irreversible.
If you suspect you have gingivitis, make sure to visit a dentist as soon as possible.
New City Family Dental is a dental clinic based in New City. If you’re looking for professional advice to prevent gum disease and take better care of your oral health, feel free to contact us at (845) 634-6006.
We provide comprehensive dental solutions to citizens in New York.