Skip to main content

Title

Gum Disease - Gingivitis or Periodontitis?

When you’re concerned about your gums and start researching, it quickly gets confusing, with multiple technical medical terms being used to refer to the same thing—gum disease.

The NHS definition for gums disease is as follows - ‘Gum disease is a very common condition where the gums become swollen, sore or infected. It is caused by ‘a build-up of plaque on the teeth, a sticky substance that contains bacteria.’

Gum disease is the general term used, but both gingivitis and periodontitis are words used to describe stages of gum disease.

Gingivitis describes early, mild (and reversible) gum disease, the kind marked by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed or flossed. It is estimated that over half of the UK population experience some form of gingivitis, and if is not addressed by improved oral care, it can progress and develop into the more serious (non-reversible) stage of gum disease called periodontitis.

The World Health Organisation estimates 15% - 20% of middle-aged adults suffer from periodontitis. Periodontitis attacks gums, bone and the connective tissue that holds teeth in place, eventually loosening them over time to the point that they could fall out.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. That’s why it’s best to address gum issues early by following our 3 tips to combat gum disease:

1. Give Your Mouth an Improved Routine

Gum disease mainly develops when we’ve slackened on our oral care. When gum disease is in the early stage, the solution is simply upgrading your routine to reduce bacteria in your mouth. Brushing after meals, flossing and swishing with mouthwash twice daily can prevent gum disease taking hold. Also schedule regular dentist check-ups, because when plaque develops into tartar, it can only be removed with professional cleanings. Early gum disease is preventable if you swiftly take action.

2. Get a Thorough Cleaning

If sticking to improved oral health routines isn’t reversing gum disease symptoms, you likely have a more advanced infection where deep, hard-to-reach bacteria pockets have formed around the base of your teeth. A deep cleaning by a dentist or periodontist every 6 months is the best way to rid your mouth of tartar.

3. Visit your dentist

If problems persist, antibiotics may be prescribed to fully eradicate the infection-causing microorganisms in your mouth.