Oral gingivitis is a kind of periodontal disease. It affects the gums, first around the gum line, and then further down in the gum tissue. Gingivitis is one of the most threatening dental diseases that dentists treat at various stages to help their patients avoid a variety of health threats. It’s also something that hygienists and others call a “silent disease” because it doesn’t have many evident symptoms, leading many patients to ignore the condition as it worsens.
Causes of Gingivitis
The underlying cause of gingivitis is an irritation to the gums, or any condition that allows excess bacteria to build up and inflame the gum areas. One of the main causes of gingivitis is poor home care of the teeth, which allows for the buildup of a substance called plaque. Over time, plaque turns into a different form, called tartar. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums and bring harmful bacteria into and eventually under the gum line.
Although a lack of brushing and flossing can cause gingivitis, other elements also contribute to this condition. Pregnancy can cause gingivitis when the gums become sensitive due to hormonal changes. Any sudden shifts in health can have an adverse effect on the gums. Even too much brushing can inflame the gums and cause gingivitis. Cavities that are filled wrong can also lead to gingivitis.
Those who work in dental offices understand how sensitive and vulnerable the gums are to gingivitis. From hygienists to specialized periodontal doctors, medical workers in all ranks are trained to notice the onset of gingivitis and help combat this degenerative condition, where early cases can be resolved without a lot of extreme costs and procedures.
Individuals who have the beginning stages of gingivitis will often notice that the gums are bleeding more than they used to when they brush or floss. They may also notice different coloration to the gums, and a lot of soreness or tenderness in certain areas. In general, it’s hard to notice gingivitis from a casual look inside the mouth, but at the same time, those who are accustomed to regular dental checkups will eventually learn how to spot a worsening gingivitis condition and seek follow-up care. That’s one reason why regular dental checkups are so important in order to limit eventual dental costs by taking advantage of preventative care.
In many cases, individuals can prevent gingivitis by following the directions of their dentists and brushing the teeth, as well as flossing, each day. In addition, there are treatments for advanced gingivitis, including root scaling, where dentists reach down and extract bacteria and residue below the gum line, or gum surgery. These options are often a last resort for patients who have failed to keep beginning gingivitis under control. Talk to your dentist about your vulnerability to gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease, and get regular dental checkups every six months to minimize your risk of developing a progressive case of oral gingivitis.