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The most common reason why adults lose their natural teeth is because of periodontal (gum) disease. Talking about gum disease requires understanding certain terms. So, exactly what are the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis?

When the teeth and gums are accumulating copious amounts of plaque that is not removed with brushing and flossing it is called gingivitis. Ignored, the plaque can become a calcified substance called tartar. At this stage, bacteria flourishes and decay is working its way into teeth and gums, but a professional cleaning by the dental hygienist can still minimize the harm, and dedicated oral maintenance at home can beat back gum disease. Bleeding gums may occur when brushing, but the teeth are still firmly lodged in their sockets. There is no tissue loss or damage yet, neither has there been any damage to the bone at this point.

When there are Initial indications that the gum and bone is pulling away from the teeth the condition is called periodontitis. Decay has advanced to this point because no action was taken during the gingivitis stage. Now, without immediate treatment tooth loss is in the future. It becomes more difficult to get to the plaque as it continually builds up below the gum line, making pockets where debris and food particles collect and become infected. As the tissue holding the teeth is destroyed the teeth become loose and tooth loss can occur.

If you have bleeding gums or are worried about potential gum disease, come and see Dr. Daniel Bishop for an evaluation. Please contact Bishop Family Dental to make an appointment at: 801-274-2500, or come by our office in Salt Lake City, Utah.