Gingivitis and periodontitis both refer to a spectrum of gum diseases, typically caused by oral bacterial growth. Gum diseases are often undetected to the individuals until signs such as gum bleeding, swellings or shrinkages appear. Other symptoms include bad tastes or bad breath, and teeth drifting, such as your front teeth moving forward.
Bacterial plaque, a biofilm of bacteria that grows on surfaces within the mouth, is the primary offender in gum disease progression. Plaque builds up after every meal, and can be mechanically removed by daily toothbrushing and flossing. However, when plaque is left on tooth surfaces for long enough, it starts to irritate the gums and cause gum inflammation. When plaque hardens into tartar (also known as calculus), it becomes very difficult to brush off. This further worsens gum disease.
Host factors such as general illnesses, medications or smoking can also have negative effects on gum health. Inadequate brushing techniques or lack of flossing can further exacerbate gum inflammation.