What’s the Link Between Gum Disease, Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

When you’re concerned about your gums and start researching, it quickly gets confusing, with multiple technical medical terms being used to refer to the same thing—gum disease. Here’s how the terms are linked: Gum disease is the broad-stroke, general term used to describe the bacterial infection in your mouth. Both gingivitis and periodontitis are words used to describe gum disease—but the words are not interchangeable and do not mean exactly the same thing.

Gingivitis describes early, mild (and reversible) gum disease, the kind marked by red, swollen gums that bleed easily when brushed or flossed. If gingivitis is not addressed by improved mouth care, it can progress and develop into the more serious (non-reversible) stage of gum disease called periodontitis, which attacks gums, bone and the connective tissue that holds teeth in place, eventually loosening them over time to the point that they could fall out. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss. That’s why it’s best to address gum issues early by hammering down a fool proof oral care routine.