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What is the difference between gingivitis and gum disease?

Gingivitis and gum disease both are characterized by red, tender and bleeding gums.  While gingivitis is reversible and can be resolved, gum disease is permanent and must be managed throughout life.  Gingivitis usually develops over a period of 2 to 3 weeks of not brushing and flossing well.  If good oral hygiene habits are resumed, the red and inflamed tissue heals to its normal state.  Gum disease which is also known as periodontal disease, occurs when bacteria have been sitting on the teeth and gums for an extended period of time.  Our bodies do not like bacteria and try to fight off the mild infection.  As a result, the gums and bone around the teeth pull back.  If untreated, this can lead to loose teeth, bad breath and gum abscesses.  Periodontal disease may be treated with root planing, antibiotics, and regenerative procedures.  

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