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Do You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis | Cheeeese

Do You Have Gingivitis or Periodontitis | Cheeeese

No matter how healthy you keep your teeth, your teeth depend on healthy gum tissue to keep them in place. Let's talk about the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis. Your gum tissue, also called gingiva, has bone underneath it.

 

That's what anchors and supports the roots of your teeth. If you have unhealthy gums, oftentimes your bone won't be healthy either.

What's the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis?

 

Healthy bone level, enamel and healthy gums. | Cheeeese
Plaque and calculus, inflammation and deepening pocket. | Cheeeese

There are different stages of gum disease.

Let's start with gingivitis. Gingi comes from the word gingiva, which means gums. And itis is the medical term for inflammation when you put these two together, it means inflammation of your gingiva, a.k.a. swollen gums.

 

Why does this happen?

Why do your gums get swollen?

 

Inadequate brushing and flossing cause dental plaque | Cheeeese

 

Usually, it's because of issues like inadequate brushing and flossing, which causes dental plaque, which is the sticky white film that collects along the edges of your gums that needs to be cleaned off daily and even your diet can contribute to plaque levels, such as not drinking enough water.

 

Having a diet that is high in processed carbs or not getting enough fresh fruits and vegetables.

And even if you're a frequent snacker, you're probably going to have more bacteria in your mouth than someone who eats less often.

 

There are all different levels of severity when it comes to gingivitis, gum disease, periodontal disease, or periodontitis. To put it simply, gingivitis is the lowest stage of gum disease, and at this level, you can still reverse it.

 

So say you had some swollen gums due to build-up on your teeth and you had the buildup cleaned off by your dentist, and now you're keeping up with your home care, routine brushing, flossing, etc. Now your gums might bounce right back to health.

Different levels of healthy gum, gingivitis and periodontitis | Cheeeese

 

However, if gingivitis progresses onto periodontitis, that can not be reversed and may even require surgery or some kind of gum procedure at minimal if there's buildup below your gum line, you will need a deep cleaning, a.k.a. scaling and replanning, as well as more frequent re-care appointments throughout the year.

 

With gingivitis only the edges of your gums are red and inflamed, everything underneath them is still intact and it's generally reversible.

 

But if it progresses into something worse, like periodontitis, those tissues start to pull away from your tooth and create pockets underneath your gums. Once we see these pockets, it can mean the bone underneath your gums are shrinking away, being lost, which can lead to bone loss.

 

Once you have periodontitis, it is not reversible, although it does have a range of different stages from mild to severe, depending on the level of pocketing underneath the gums, the level of bone loss tissue deterioration, and if tooth mobility is present where the teeth are wiggling or if structural damage is present.

 

Now that you kind of knows the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis, how do you find out if you have it?

The common signs are sometimes, but not always all of these bad breath gums that are tender or sensitive and bleeding when you brush or floss. Gum recession, teeth that are loose or shifting, soreness when you bite down, and changes in how your teeth bite together also called occlusion protrusion.

 

If you smoke or use tobacco products, you often will not notice any bleeding, swelling, or redness, even with gum disease. It's especially important for those who smoke or use tobacco to get regular gum exams to make sure there's no periodontal disease hiding out without you knowing about it.

 

If you smoke or use tobacco products, you often will not notice any bleeding, swelling, or redness, even with gum disease | Cheeeese

 

For everyone, whether you smoke or not to get a firm confirmed answer, if you have gum disease or not, schedule a dental appointment, your dentist or dental hygienist will use a special measuring tool called a periodontal probe to see how deep the pockets are underneath your gums.

 

The deeper they are, the more tissue is lost from your tooth.

Also, in addition to a periodontal gum exam, x-rays will be taken. X-rays are another diagnostic tool to see if bone loss and tartar below your gum line are present or not. If it is, then it will tell us how much bone loss in tartar there is.

 

Lastly, if losing your teeth due to gum disease isn't scary enough, research shows and proves that severe periodontal disease increases your chance and severity of heart disease and heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, pneumonia, diabetes, infertility, and possibly even Alzheimer's disease and dementia. All scary stuff.

 

But the great news is that those same scientific studies tell us that improving your gum health and treating periodontitis, can have a positive impact on your overall health and wellness.

Visit your dentist and make sure your gums are being checked.

Don't wait, because the longer you wait, the more your gums and bone can and will deteriorate. If you do have active periodontitis or heavy tartar buildup, you will likely need a deep cleaning and more frequent cleanings to prevent relapse.

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