Published: 01/04/2018

Have your gums recently started bleeding every time you brush, floss, or eat? Have you noticed a persistent, foul taste in your mouth or been told you have unusually bad breath? If so, you may have gum disease and should be seen by a periodontist right away. Fortunately, it’s possible to reverse symptoms if you treat the disease in its precursor stage (gingivitis). If the disease has developed to periodontitis, reversal is no longer possible, but your symptoms can be managed so you can live with as little oral pain as possible.

You may be wondering how you can tell if you have gingivitis or periodontitis. While diagnosis by a periodontist is vital, there are a few of the main differences between the two stages of periodontal disease.


Gingivitis almost always leads to periodontitis if left untreated. However, it is reversible if treatment is sought right away. It usually causes the following symptoms:

  • Inflamed gum tissue
  • Gums that bleed during flossing, brushing, or eating
  • Oral discomfort

Like gingivitis, periodontitis also causes inflamed and irritated gum tissue that bleeds easily. However, symptoms are more pronounced and may also include:

  • Significant oral discomfort
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Persistent foul taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth due to damaged bone tissue and deepened pockets
  • Tooth loss

As mentioned earlier, periodontitis can’t be reversed. However, regular treatments can keep your symptoms from worsening and can relieve some of your oral pain.

Preventing Gum Disease

If you’ve noticed the first symptoms of gingivitis, you have the opportunity to tackle your symptoms and turn your situation around. You can most likely prevent gum disease development by practicing strict oral hygiene, including brushing at least twice each day and flossing every day. Whether you have gingivitis or periodontitis, visiting your periodontist regularly for treatment is crucial for your oral health.

Treatment Options

Periodontist Dr. Steven Rice offers a variety of treatment options for gum disease, including gentle laser treatments, periodontal surgery, and scaling and root planing. To schedule a consultation and explore your options, call Advanced Laser Gum Surgery Institute of Washington in Rockville, MD today.

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