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What's the difference between gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease)?

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Gingivitis is when your gum becomes inflamed. It usually happens before you get periodontitis, also called gum disease.

In the early stages of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up and make your gums bleed easily. Your teeth are still firmly anchored in their sockets. You don’t have any permanent bone or other tissue damage with gingivitis.

Without treatment, gingivitis can lead to gum disease. That’s when the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. Bacteria can spread and grow below the gum line. As gum disease worsens, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone get destroyed. That loosens the teeth. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

SOURCE: 

American Academy of Periodontology.

American Dental Association.

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on March 17, 2019

SOURCE: 

American Academy of Periodontology.

American Dental Association.

Reviewed by Michael Friedman on March 17, 2019

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