Often you hear the terms gum disease and gingivitis, and they are used almost interchangeably. In addition to gum disease and gingivitis, you may also hear the terms periodontitis, periodontal disease or pyorrhea.
You might be confused if all of these things are the same, or if they are different, but similar, diseases.
If your mouth is working in the correct manner, your teeth are held in place by your gums, jaw bone, and ligaments. However, if you are not careful with your hygiene care, you may start to experience a build up of plaque and tartar on your teeth and along your gum line. As plaque and tartar build up, it causes your gums to inflame and recede away from your teeth. After your gums recede, tiny pockets are created where additional plaque, tartar, and bacteria can gather. This is the first stage of gum disease and is commonly referred to as gingivitis.
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If you have developed gingivitis, it is imperative to receive treatment. If you do not receive treatment, your gingivitis can advance into a more serious form of gum disease, often referred to as periodontitis. The bacteria, plaque, and tartar that sits along your gum line and the newly created pockets will begin to break down your gums and jaw bone. Eventually, this will lead to teeth that loosen and will eventually need to be removed.
So, in conclusion, gingivitis is more of a stage of gum disease than anything else. However, no matter which terms is used, gum disease, gingivitis, periodontal disease, or periodontitis, you NEED to receive treatment!