When your doctor refers to periodontal infection, he or she may use terms like gum disease, gingivitis, or periodontitis. What is the difference? Periodontal disease is the same as gum disease. They are interchangeable terms that refer to an infection of the gum tissue. Gingivitis and periodontitis, however, are separate stages of periodontal disease. September is National Gum Care Month, providing an excellent opportunity to examine how periodontal infection progresses.

How Gingivitis Turns into Periodontitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It occurs when the bacteria that live in the plaque on your teeth begin to irritate and infect the gum tissue. When you have neglected to brush or floss regularly, for example, you may notice that your gum tissue is inflamed or sensitive. It may also bleed when you brush. The bacteria also cause the gum tissue that tightly surrounds your teeth to pull away. These are the earliest signs of gingivitis. If they are not addressed by your dentist in Texas City, TX, gingivitis will advance to periodontitis, the second stage of gum disease.

What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is marked by a worsening of symptoms and greater damage to your smile. In addition to gum inflammation, bleeding, and bad breath, you may also experience tooth sensitivity, gum recession, shifting teeth, and bone loss. Without intervention, this stage will continue to damage the health of the structures that support your teeth.

How You Can Prevent Periodontal Disease

A good oral care routine with regular professional exams and cleanings is the best way to prevent gum disease. Unfortunately, other factors may raise your risk for this chronic oral infection. These may include prescriptions that cause dry mouth, medical conditions like diabetes, smoking, and hormonal changes.

If you would like to learn more about preventing periodontal disease or need treatment, contact our experienced dentist in Texas City, TX, Dr. Stephen C. Hale. A simple consultation may be the first step to a healthy, beautiful smile.