Which is Worse, Gingivitis or Periodontitis?

Posted on Sep 12, 2014 10:57:37 AM by Jeff Rubel

Which is Worse, Gingivitis or Periodontitis? | Coral West DentalDealing with gum disease isn’t fun, no matter how far advanced the disease may be. There are technically two types of gum disease that you could suffer from: gingivitis and periodontitis. If you aren’t familiar with either, you may be wondering, which is worse? Keep reading for the answer, as well as some tips on how to deal with each.


Gum disease is incredibly common. In fact, it’s estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of the disease. The majority of these people are likely dealing with gingivitis, which is a common and mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness, and swelling of gums. Symptoms of gingivitis can be so mild that many don’t even realize that they have them. However, just because it doesn’t seem to be a big deal doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a much more serious form of gum disease.

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. It’s absolutely essential that you brush your teeth twice and floss once every single day. Taking steps on your own to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible is the best prevention there is. In addition, you should visit your dentist for a professional cleaning twice each year.

If you don’t brush and floss your teeth each day, plaque will quickly build up. Plaque is basically a combination of bacteria, mucus, and food particles that settles onto your teeth. If this plaque is allowed to sit for long, it will harden into tartar. Tartar is nearly impossible to get rid of without a professional cleaning, and can lead to tooth decay if left untreated.

There are a number of things that can lead to gingivitis aside from poor oral health. Tobacco use, diabetes, medications, hormonal changes, and poor nutrition are among some of the most common factors. As with anything related to your health, maintaining the healthiest lifestyle possible will go a long way to keeping you where you want to be and preventing issues in the future.


Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and may destroy the bone that supports your teeth. Periodontitis can cause tooth loss, and has even been linked to an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. When comparing the two, periodontitis is much worse than gingivitis.

The good news is that periodontitis is typically preventable. For the most part, it’s a result of poor oral hygiene, much like gingivitis. Following the suggestions above, such as brushing and flossing every day, as well as visiting your dentist twice a year can help you to prevent the onset of periodontitis.

Symptoms of periodontitis may include swollen gums, gums that pull away from your teeth, bad breath, pus between teeth and gums, and loose teeth. There are two types of periodontitis, chronic and aggressive, with chronic being the most common. If you are seeing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to see your dentist immediately. There are things that can be done to stop the spread of the disease, and the sooner you act the better.

Risk factors and causes of periodontitis are very similar to those for gingivitis. However, the results can be much more severe. Tooth loss, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes, and asthma have all been associated with periodontitis. Research has suggested that the bacteria that causes gum disease can enter your blood stream, affecting the lungs, heart, and other parts of the body.

Obviously neither option is ideal, but periodontitis is certainly worse than gingivitis. Be sure to take great care of your teeth and gums, and encourage your family members to do the same. Prevention is key when it comes to gum disease, and good oral hygiene is your best defense.

To get a more in-depth look, download our free eBook "7 Step Checklist to Determine if You Have Gum Disease"

Determine if You Have Gum Disease | Coral West Dental

Recent Posts


FREE Electric Toothbrush For New Patients

$80 Savings!

Get The Deal!
Like what you read? Leave us a comment below