Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease

You’ve probably heard the ads on TV before warning you about gingivitis. This is mainly defined by the gums becoming swollen and red, with a much higher propensity to bleed, especially when brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is actually what the first stage of periodontal disease is. As gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, The gums can start to pull away from the teeth, bone loss can happen, and the teeth can get loose and even fall out. Gingivitis as well as some form of periodontal disease is more common than you would think, with 47.2% of adults 30 years and older having some form of it. This progresses to 70.1% in adults 65 and older.


Bacteria in the mouth can infect the surrounding tissue of the tooth which in turn causes inflammation around that tooth leading to periodontal disease. When these bacteria remain on the tooth long enough a film called plaque will form, which in time will harden and turn into tartar. Tartar build up can spread below the gums, which then makes the teeth harder to clean. At that point only A dentist or periodontist can remove the tartar and stop the periodontal disease from progressing.

How do I know if I have gingivitis or periodontal disease?

While only eight dental health professional can diagnose you, here are some warning signs to look out for. Bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth that won’t go away. Red, swollen, tender or bleeding gums. Painful chewing or sensitive teeth. Loose teeth or gums that have pulled away from the teeth. Changes in the fit of your bite. It is also important to note that certain factors increased your risk for gingivitis and periodontal disease such as smoking, diabetes, poor oral hygiene and medication that causes dry mouth.

There is treatment and preventative maintenance.

Getting to your dental health professional probably for treatment is key in preventing the progression of gingivitis and periodontal disease. A professional cleaning known as scaling and root planning is essential to remove all plaque, tartar, and any other type of bacteria. The scaling removes these things from the surface of the tooth and beneath the gums. The route planning removed any type of bacteria produced by inflammation and will smooth the root surface which will intern lessen further buildup bacteria and allow for healing.

Basic gingivitis will usually clear up after this process. To help aid in the prevention, daily brushing and flossing will remove the bacteria that can cause gum disease. It is also recommended to have at least one yearly check up, and possibly more frequent than that if you exhibit any of the potential warning signs and risk factors previously mentioned.

Only your dental health professional will be able to give an assessment and proper diagnosis of these issues. The key is to take action quickly to prevent gingivitis from progressing into periodontal disease, which will require more extensive treatments and becomes less reversible.