Gingivitis is a disease of the gums that is reversible. The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque. If plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. At this early stage in gum disease, damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected. Left untreated, however, gingivitis can become periodontitis and cause permanent damage to your teeth and jaw.
Red, swollen, and tender gums that may bleed when you brush are the classic signs of gingivitis. Gums may also recede or pull away from teeth, giving your teeth an elongated appearance. When gum disease is present, pockets often form between teeth and gums, allowing plaque and food debris to collect. You may experience recurring bad breath or have a bad taste in your mouth, even in the earlier stages of the disease.
The word periodontal is comprised of 2 parts – “peri” which means around and “dontal” which refers to teeth. Periodontal diseases are infections of the structures around the teeth. These structures include the following:
Cementum that covers the root
In the earliest stages of this disease, known as gingivitis, the infection affects only the gums. In more severe or advanced forms of the disease, all of the supporting tissues may be impacted. In an attempt to rid the body of bacteria, your immune system releases substances that inflame and damage the gums and surrounding structures. This will lead to the early stages of the disease – gingivitis. As the condition progresses and becomes advanced, periodontitis takes on the form of active disease and may cause looseness of the teeth and bone loss. Regular hygiene visits are vital to managing periodontal disease and limiting the associated risks.