What is gingivitis? What is periodontitis? Are they linked?


Both conditions are types of ‘periodontal diseases’. Both affect the ‘periodontium’ which means the area immediately surrounding teeth – the gum connection, the bone foundations and the shock-absorbing ligament under all of our teeth.

Plaque (a sticky bacterial ‘biofilm’ layer) is the ultimate cause of both.

Plaque is the trigger.

But it’s a little more unique to each person than that. The trigger affects all of us differently.

This is because some of us (and some of our teeth) are more susceptible to the trigger than others and the response of our immune systems can be involved in the damage that happens.

When gum inflammation is reversible, we term this gingivitis. Search our Knowledge Bank for more details here. Not all people with gingivitis will progress to periodontitis, but it is possible.

When irreversible harm has happened (bone loss around the tooth/ teeth themselves) this is periodontitis. The harm can not be reversed but the process can be halted. A better description of periodontitis is here. Rest assured that not all people with periodontitis will lose their teeth.

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