Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis — How Are They Different?

July 30, 2023

We have all heard how important it is to take care of our teeth for a healthy smile, but what many people do not consider is gum health. Our mouth contains bacteria, which not only leads to dental health issues but periodontal disease as well. You must have heard of gingivitis and periodontitis as the common conditions that affect gums. So, what is the difference between gingivitis vs. periodontitis? Keep reading to learn!

What is Gingivitis?

Inflammation of gums is referred to as gingivitis, and it is a prevalent condition that affects many people. This is a mild stage of gum disease with bleeding gums as the primary symptom. If treated early, gingivitis is reversible. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria in your mouth that needs to be removed, or it hardens into tartar which irritates and infects the gums even more. Generally, plaque is the reason why mild gum disease takes place.

Here are the signs you may be dealing with gingivitis:

  • Redness in gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Random bleeding from gums

What is Periodontitis?

When gingivitis is left untreated, the gum disease progresses into a severe stage which is known as periodontitis. This infection is pretty advanced since it destroys the supporting structure of the teeth. In addition, it is among the major causes of tooth loss!

Some symptoms of periodontitis include:

  • Gums bleed easily
  • Redness in gums
  • Swollen and tender gum tissue
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Natural bite alignment changes
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth

Does Gingivitis Progress into Periodontitis?

Yes, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis if left untreated. Plaque accumulates and spreads to the gum line, releasing toxins with bacteria. This can irritate and inflame the gums and might trigger a chronic inflammatory response in the body. As a result, gum tissue and bone start becoming damaged with time, with the gum tissue pulling away from the teeth. In addition, the gum recession forms pockets that are vulnerable to infection, which causes further tissue damage. When periodontal tissue becomes damaged, it makes the gum pockets deeper.

If the gaps have a chance to become too big, the teeth can become loose due to bone loss. Moreover, deeper pockets make it challenging to reach the bacteria with only brushing and flossing. In short, periodontal disease is too advanced to be resolved at home! Both stages of gum disease require instant medical attention.

Treating Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, and it is possible to reverse it with the help of treatment. The main objective of the treatment is to reduce inflammation. Depending on your condition, the periodontist might recommend proper oral hygiene, professional dental cleaning, or antiseptic mouthwash.

As for periodontitis, the goal remains the same, but additional treatment is required. Your periodontist might recommend proper oral hygiene, professional dental cleaning, antibiotics, open surgery, and more.

Visit a periodontist to know which treatment to opt for!


While both gingivitis and periodontitis are different stages of gum disease, the former is the early stage, and the latter is advanced infection. Your periodontist can assess your mouth to determine which treatment to go for.

Smile One Dental is here to resolve all of your oral health issues! Talk to us at (713) 936-4062 or pay us a visit at 5962 Renwick Drive, Houston, TX 77081.



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