Friday, April 19, 2013

Gingivitis, the Gum Killer

Most people will experience gingivitis at some point in their lives. About 75 percent of Americans suffer from different levels of gingivitis. Gingivitis can range from a mild infection that causes soreness and bleeding of the gums all the way to severe gingivitis which leads to periodontitis. While gingivitis is a common problem, it is also easily avoided.

Gingivitis Signs and Symptoms

Gingivitis is caused by plaque, a soft and sticky colorless film that builds up on teeth. If plaque build-up is ignored, it contributes to gingivitis and many other mouth diseases. One of the first signs of gingivitis is gum discomfort while brushing your teeth. Your gums may become slightly swollen or bleed as you brush or floss them. The gum tissue might also appear shiny as it becomes stretched over the swollen connective tissue. These symptoms are indicative of the early stages of gingivitis:

- Painful, sensitive gums
- Inflamed gums that are bright red or purple in color
- Bleeding gums
- Halitosis, or bad breath

Gingivitis Causes

Poor dental hygiene is the leading cause of gingivitis. When plague is not removed, it turns into tarter. Brushing before bed is particularly important because the plaque can wear away teeth enamel and cause gum disease by interacting with food particles to create a destructive acid. It only takes 72 hours for plaque to harden into tarter. Tarter can only be removed by your dentist. Other causes of gum disease include genetics, unmanaged diabetes, and smoking.

Gingivitis Treatments

The best way to avoid gingivitis is to brush and floss in the morning, after meals, and before bed. Thorough brushing and flossing can rid your mouth of bacteria as well as starches and sugars that contribute to gingivitis. Regular check-ups with your dentist are very important to remove any plaque or tarter from hard-to-reach places.

When gingivitis is ignored, it can eventually develop into periodontitis - an inflammatory disease that can be much more difficult to treat. Periodontitis affects the inner gums and bone that have pulled away from teeth, forming pockets where bacteria can become trapped. This leads to infections and abscesses. Eventually, toxins destroy the connective tissue and bone leading to tooth loss.

Making regular visits to your dentist and practicing good oral hygiene can keep your mouth healthy and eradicate disease. Your dental health can affect your overall physical and mental health by causing discomfort and pain as well as being unsightly.

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