Alpha Dental

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis: Understanding the Difference

Oral Health

Our general well-being critically depends on the condition of our teeth and gums, yet it’s a facet that often goes overlooked until problems arise. Gingivitis and Periodontitis are two conditions that affect many people in the form of bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity and bad breath. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they represent distinct stages of gum disease with varying severity. In this article, let’s understand the differences between Gingivitis and Periodontitis, their causes and symptoms, treatment options, and preventive measures to keep your gums and teeth in shape.   

Difference between Gingivitis and Periodontitis   


Gingivitis is one of the earliest stages of gum disease. It primarily affects the gums and is characterised by inflammation and irritation. Some key features of Gingivitis include:   

  • Redness and Swelling: Infected gums become red, swollen, and tender to the touch.  
  • Bleeding Gums: One of the most common signs of Gingivitis is bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing.  
  • Bad Breath: Another sign is persistent poor breath or a sour taste in the mouth. 
  • Mild Discomfort: May experience mild discomfort or pain while chewing food.  

The good news is that you can manage Gingivitis with proper care and regular dentistry check-ups. However, if left untreated, Gingivitis can lead to Periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease.    


Periodontitis is a more severe type of gum disease that, if neglected, can result in irreparable harm. It affects the gums, bone, and other tooth-supporting tissues. Here are some characteristics of Periodontitis:   

  • Pocket Formation: As the infection progresses, pockets or spaces develop between the teeth and gums, which can trap bacteria and debris.  
  • Receding Gums: Gums may recede, making teeth appear longer and exposing the tooth’s roots.  
  • Tooth Mobility: Teeth may become loose and start shifting out of position.  
  • Pus Formation: Sometimes, pus can develop around the teeth and gums.  
  • Bone Loss: The infection can lead to significant bone loss, potentially causing tooth loss.  

Periodontitis is a severe condition that requires immediate attention from the dentist. Treatment for Periodontitis is more involved and may include deep cleaning, scaling and root planning, and even surgical procedures in advanced cases.   

Reasons and Symptoms   


The main cause of Gingivitis is the buildup of plaque, a bacterial film adhering to the teeth and gums. Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause. However, the chance of developing Gingivitis can be raised by several other elements, including smoking, hormonal changes (such as those during pregnancy), certain medications, and underlying medical disorders.   

Gingivitis symptoms aren’t always very obvious at the early stage. However, once the condition gets severe, you might notice some of these symptoms:  

  • Redness  
  • Swelling 
  • Bleeding gums and bad breath.   

An important note is that Gingivitis can often be painless or cause only mild discomfort, leading people to overlook its seriousness.   


Periodontitis typically develops from untreated Gingivitis. Untreated Gingivitis can worsen and inflame the tooth’s supporting components. This progression is usually driven by the same factors that cause Gingivitis, such as poor oral hygiene and smoking. However, genetic factors can also play a role in making some individuals more susceptible to Periodontitis.   

The symptoms are more severe, including forming pockets, receding gums, loose teeth, and potential pus discharge.    

If you experience any of the above symptoms, seek immediate dental care, as the damage caused by this dental problem is irreversible. Alpha Dental Clinic in Perth has emergency dental care, where our experienced dentists will take care of your urgent oral health needs with utmost professionalism and expertise.   



The treatment for Gingivitis is generally less invasive than that for Periodontitis. It primarily involves improving oral hygiene practices. Our dentists at Alpha Dental Clinic may recommend the following based on the severity of the problem:   

  • Professional Cleaning: Removing plaque and tartar buildup through a professional dental cleaning is crucial.  
  • Improved Home Care: Brushing and flossing regularly and correctly.  
  • Antiseptic Mouthwash: Using an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce bacteria.  
  • Regular Dental Check-ups: Visit our dental clinic in Perth for routine check-ups and cleanings.  

With proper care and maintenance, Gingivitis can be completely cured.   


Periodontitis treatment is more complex and may require several visits to your dentist. The objective is to prevent the disease’s progression and stop further damage. Treatment options are:   

  • Scaling and root planning: a complete cleaning to remove tartar and plaque from the tooth roots.   
  • Medications: Antibiotics or antimicrobial mouth rinses to reduce infection.  
  • Surgery: In advanced cases, surgical procedures may be necessary to repair damaged tissue or regenerate bone.  
  • Lifestyle Changes: Quitting smoking and maintaining a stringent oral hygiene routine.  

Treatment for Periodontitis may not be able to reverse all the damage, but it can help manage the condition and prevent further deterioration.   

If you are looking for the best dentist in Perth, Alpha Dental is the top choice for comprehensive and exceptional dental care. Our services cover General dentistry, Cosmetic dentistry, Tooth Replacement and Wisdom tooth Removal.     

Prevention Techniques   

Preventing both Gingivitis and Periodontitis starts with excellent oral hygiene practices:   

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and brush twice for two minutes.  
  • Flossing helps eliminate plaque and trapped food particles between your teeth.  
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups and thorough cleanings at least twice a year.  
  • Quitting smoking can greatly lower your risk of developing gum disease. Check out our blog on how smoking can affect your dental health.  
  • Consume foods low in sugar and acidity and plenty of fruits and vegetables.   
  • If you have diabetes or other health conditions, speak with your doctor to manage them effectively.  

Maintaining optimal dental health is a continuous process rather than a one-time approach. Gum diseases should never be left unattended. Using electric toothbrushes has proven highly effective in preventing the onset of Gingivitis and Periodontitis.    

Seeking dental care and treatment at the earliest signs of trouble can be beneficial, and good oral hygiene remains a cornerstone of an individual’s overall well-being. Book your appointment with Alpha Dental Clinic if you suspect any gum diseases. Your teeth will thank you for it! 



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