- Gingivitis introduction
- What's the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?
- What causes periodontal disease?
- What are the symptoms and signs of periodontal disease?
- How does my dentist diagnose periodontal disease?
- How is periodontal disease treated?
- How can gingivitis be prevented?
- Is periodontal disease linked to other health problems?
- Patient Comments: Gum Disease - Symptoms
- Find a local Doctor in your town
Gingivitis, also generally called gum disease or periodontal disease,
describes the events that begin with bacterial growth in your mouth and may
What's the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?
Gingivitis (gum inflammation) usually precedes periodontitis (gum disease). However, it is important to know that not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.
In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causes the gums to become inflamed (red and swollen) and often easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.
When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. In a person with periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.
Viewers share their comments
WebMD Oral Health
Get tips for a healthy mouth.