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What’s the Difference between Periodontitis and Gingivitis?

Periodontitis and Gingivitis are two conditions commonly known to share a range of various symptoms, often making it difficult to identify between the two when attempting to diagnose such a dental health problem. So, what similarities are shared by these issues and how can we learn to distinguish between the two?


The most striking similarity between gingivitis and periodontitis is that both are conditions found to relate to the gums and resulting from a build-up of harmful bacteria within the mouth; this is commonly caused as a consequence of sub-par oral hygiene. However, the prevention of this bacteria is a task that can sometimes prove challenging, even when brushing and flossing teeth regularly, as many adults over the age of 40 will begin to prevent some tell-tale symptoms of gum disease. With both periodontitis and gingivitis, it is fact that risk of suffering, unfortunately, increases with age.


Gingivitis is always found to occur before the development of Periodontitis as it is an earlier stage within the development of gum issues. It is impossible to suffer from Periodontitis without having first had Gingivitis, however, this is not to say that this issue will always lead to an individual experiencing Periodontitis.

In the majority of cases, Gingivitis is caused by a build-up of plaque upon the surface of teeth, the acids found within plaque working to damage the outer layers of the tooth and therefore leading to issues such as cavities and tooth decay. The growth of the bacteria found can subsequently lead to problems such as inflammation of the gums and other unpleasant symptoms associated with gingivitis. Despite these rather intimidating issues that can accompany this gum problem, gingivitis will not cause any long-term damage to the overall integrity of teeth and gums and, though unpleasant to experience, can not lead to serious issue such as tooth loss or the erosion of gums; periodontitis, however, is a condition that offers more cause for concern.


Periodontitis is a condition with the potential to cause great damage to teeth and gums if left untreated and should thus be viewed with heightened severity when compared to gingivitis. While all the problems commonly associated with gingivitis will remain present, such as inflamed gums, bad breath, and bleeding gums, issued of much higher severity may also begin to occur. For example, inflammation could continue to develop to the extent at which the bone of the jaw could be lost. This could lead to the loosening, and eventual loss, of teeth.

Visit your Dentist

Despite the difference in severity of both of these gum issues, Periodontitis and Gingivitis can be difficult to distinguish between to the untrained eye, making it vital that a dental professional is consulted if gum disease to any extent is suspected. If you believe you may be suffering from either of these conditions, book an appointment with our emergency dentist in Tamworth who will be able to advise the best course of treatment to work towards the resolve of the issue.  Alternatively, get in touch for more information and discover what Ascent Dental Care Tamworth can do to help you.

Get in touch with us today on 01827 664 35