Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis – The Difference

June 30, 2023

Gum disease (gingivitis or periodontitis) is more common than you think. As a matter of fact, it affects more than half of the adult population. These two terms are often used interchangeably but are actually different conditions. Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, while periodontitis is the more advanced stage. In this blog, we’ll discuss gingivitis vs periodontitis – the differences between them and what you can do about them.

Differentiating Gingivitis and Periodontitis

Maintaining healthy gums is essential for overall oral health wellness. The 2 stages of gum disease – gingivitis and periodontitis are treatable. Gingivitis is the early stage and reversible; this means you can revert back to normal with simple lifestyle changes. Whereas periodontitis is more serious and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

  • Gingivitis – Early, Reversible Stage of Gum Disease

    Gum disease starts from this point on and is characterized by inflammation and irritation of the oral mucosal tissues. Key signs of gingivitis include:

    1. Receding, swollen gums
    2. Puffiness in gum tissues
    3. Sore and tender oral tissues
    4. Dark red gums that often bleed, especially during brushing or flossing
    5. Persistent bad breath (halitosis)


    Follow the steps mentioned below to reverse this problem.

    1. Brush your teeth 2 times daily using fluoridated toothpaste.
    2. Never skip flossing once daily to remove plaque and food debris between teeth.
    3. Avoid using tobacco products.
    4. Schedule professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Periodontitis: Advanced Gum Disease

    If you do not pay attention to the cry of your mouth, gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. Periodontitis shows up with signs like:

    1. Discoloration of gums
    2. Bleeding during brushing or flossing
    3. Advanced gum recession
    4. Gum abscesses
    5. Tooth Sensitivity
    6. Pain when chewing
    7. Halitosis
    8. Gaps between the teeth
    9. Loose teeth
    10. Bone loss around teeth and jaws
    11. Changes in tooth structure


    Unlike gingivitis, reversal is not possible with periodontitis. However, you can get treatment to prevent further damage. Treatment options that dentists offer for periodontitis include:

    1. Antibiotic therapy: It is a non-surgical approach to eliminate infections after a deep cleaning.
    2. Scaling and root planing: A thorough, professional cleaning regime to remove plaque and tartar that is present above and below the gum line.
    3. Gum grafting: Surgical procedure involving the replacement of damaged tissue with grafting material.

Closing Note

Maintaining healthy gums is crucial when it comes to overall oral health management. Understanding the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis is your first step towards early detection and effective treatment.

Get in touch with the dental experts from Smile Unique Dental and Orthodontics to learn about the options you have. Dial (832) 391-8660 to connect with us or drop by our clinic. We are located at 19355 Katy Freeway STE 600, Houston, TX 77094.


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