What is Gum Disease?

You might have heard a lot about how important it is to prevent gum disease. This condition endangers both your oral and overall health! However, not everyone understands exactly what gum disease is. They may not even know the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis, the two forms of gum disease. If you’ve ever been confused about these terms, take heart! Here is a quick lesson on what they mean.

Gingivitis — The First Stage of Gum Disease

Simply put, gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It’s basically just gum inflammation. Symptoms include swollen, tender gums and bleeding when you brush or floss. Gingivitis usually occurs because plaque builds up near the gum line and causes an infection in the area. Gingivitis isn’t a serious condition, and it is usually fairly easy to reverse. You may just need to make some adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. For example, you might need to start using an antibacterial mouth rinse, be more thorough when you’re brushing, and clean interdentally more often. If you suspect you have gingivitis, it’s extremely important that you visit a Dental Hygienist. They can give your mouth a thorough cleaning and provide you with personalised tips on how to take your oral hygiene routine to the next level. If you don’t visit a dental hygienist to receive proper care and advice, you could end up in big trouble. Your gingivitis may advance to periodontitis.

Periodontitis — Advanced Gum Disease

If gingivitis progresses far enough, it becomes periodontitis, which is a huge threat to your oral and overall health. Symptoms include:
  • Red, swollen, and bleeding gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Severe gum recession
  • Bone loss around the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss
Not only can periodontitis wreck your smile, but it can also cause problems throughout the rest of your body. When the bacteria from the infection in your gums seeps into your bloodstream, it can contribute to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, dementia, respiratory infections and others. The proper treatment for periodontitis depend on the severity of the condition. In very bad cases, surgery may be necessary to clean out the infected area and reattach the gums to the teeth.

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