Gingivitis and periodontitis are referred to as gum disease or periodontal disease. Periodontal (gum) disease is an inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including gums, periodontal ligaments, and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone).
Both types of gum diseases are fairly common among adults in the United States and both can be stopped or their symptoms lessened with effective care.
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease, but without proper treatment, it can lead to the more serious periodontitis, according to the Mayo practice. It is characterized by red and irritated gums.
What are the signs and symptoms of gingivitis?
You may have red, swollen gums. Your gums may or may not be painful. Your gums may bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. Halitosis (bad breath) is worse if you have gingivitis.
How is gingivitis diagnosed?
Your dentist will check your gums for swelling and redness. Your dentist will also use a dental probe to check for bleeding. X-rays may be taken of your mouth and teeth.
How is gingivitis treated?
In some cases, you may need to visit your dentist more often for special dental cleanings. During these visits, your dentist may need to remove hard plaque from your teeth with special tools. Your dentist may also need to treat any dental problems that make it hard for you to clean your teeth well. Some of these problems include crooked teeth or bridges and dentures that do not fit right.