A bright smile from a mouth of pearly whites is something almost everyone wants. But there are a number of dental conditions which can take the sheen from teeth and the freshness from breath.
For many people, dental issues are something they dread.
But even the person who deals as little with dentistry as they have to may have heard the dreaded G-word.
What is gingivitis?
What exactly causes it, and what risks does it pose to you and your dental hygiene?
Gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease which affects the gums.
As you may expect, it can also affect the teeth. Gingivitis can stem from a number of factors, and it’s important to make sure you aren’t suffering from this condition. Here’s a bit about it and how to correct the problem.
Gingivitis: What Exactly Is It?
We’ve all heard the term, but what exactly does gingivitis entail?
Is it simply a term for bad breath or yellow teeth?
Not quite – it can lead to those things, but it is much more serious in the long-term.
Gingivitis is a condition which causes inflammation of the gums. Redness, swelling, sensitivity, and pain are all symptoms of gingivitis, and can indicate a person has some serious dental problems. Usually resulting from plaque on the teeth, the condition causes gums to become irritated, which can negatively impact their relation to the teeth.
Inflamed gums are nothing to take lightly – but it is worth noting not all cases of gingivitis are equal. This isn’t just related to their severity either.
There are two different types of gingivitis, each resulting from different causes.
Understanding the Two Types of Gingivitis
The first type of dental gingivitis is plaque-induced gingivitis. As the name suggests, this condition results from the build-up of plaque around teeth. A lack of proper brushing and flossing can cause plaque to gather around and harden at the gumline. In some cases, this can cause irritation and bleeding, whereas in others it can even lead to infections.
The second type of dental gingivitis is non-plaque-induced gingivitis. This can result from a variety of sources, including genetic issues, fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Lesions in the mouth or exposure to foreign bodies can cause gingivitis to develop, leading to inflamed gums and paving the way for a lot more serious dental problems.
Certain activities can increase the risk of the condition significantly – obviously poor dental hygiene is the top cause. But this also includes things like smoking and even ingesting certain substances which seem otherwise harmless but have a bad effect on the gums.
What is the Danger of Gingivitis?
No one likes the thought of having red, swollen, or irritated gums. But this isn’t the worst gingivitis can do.
When plaque gathers around the gums, it can cause them to pull away from the teeth. This creates pockets, which can be breeding grounds for bacteria.
The accumulation of bacteria coupled with reduced support on the teeth can lead to a number of periodontal diseases. It can lead to the teeth becoming loose and falling out. When bacteria are able to access openings in the mouth, it can lead to serious issues like sinus infections, bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, and more.
Higher risk of infections from periodontal diseases can also increase your risk for cardiovascular disorders, strokes, and more. Though gingivitis can seem like a minor issue, it can lead to major health problems, if left untreated.
How Can You Treat Gingivitis?
If your condition is caught in the early stages, you can reverse it. The main method is a good cleaning of the teeth and gums – in some cases, this may produce a bit of discomfort, but it can thoroughly dislodge the bacteria which gathers in problem spots.
You may also be prescribed specific medication to treat your gingivitis and minimize its symptoms.
In some cases, if the problem is severe and infection has already taken hold, periodontal surgery may be required to treat the issue. Scaling to remove plaque, root planning to remove damaged portions of the teeth, and even non-invasive laser cleaning are all options which fall under the surgical category.
Treating gingivitis can sometimes be as simple as using a prescription mouthwash. For more severe cases, dental implants may need to be used after affected teeth are removed. But anyone who is affected, or even thinks they might be, should consult with a specialist. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Perio Health Partners.