You must have heard about the gum disease called gingivitis. In this article, we will tell you most everything you need to know about this condition.
What Is Gingivitis?
Let’s start by covering the basics. Gingivitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the gums due to a bacterial infection. It is important that you get treatment for this condition right away. If left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis which is a very serious infection. One of the major reasons for adult tooth loss is periodontitis and gingivitis. Not only is a dental infection bad for your overall health, but also for your wallet. However, regular visits to the dentist can result in early diagnosis and treatment.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is caused when the small space called sulcus gets plaque and food particles trapped into it. Since the space is really small, it is harder for your toothbrush to reach it. This creates conditions for gum infection or gingivitis.
Plaque is the slimy film of bacteria that covers your teeth. You must have noticed a slimy yellow layer on the surface of your teeth. If you don’t remove the plaque instantly, it hardens and converts into tartar. If the plaque expands below your gum line, you can develop an infection.
Gingivitis can damage the structure of your teeth, resulting in loss of teeth. It is vital that the infection is treated before it spreads.
What Are the Risk Factors for Gingivitis?
There are several risk factors that increase your chances of getting this gum disease. They are:
- Chewing or smoking tobacco
- Consumption of certain medications like calcium channel blockers, anticonvulsants, steroids, oral contraceptives, and chemotherapy
- Crooked teeth
- Poorly fitted dental appliances
- Broken fillings
- Genetic factors
- Suffering from HIV/AIDS or some other condition that compromises immunity
What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?
There is a chance that you might have gingivitis but don’t exhibit any symptoms. However, the following are some of the common symptoms that may occur with gingivitis:
- Swollen, tender, or red gums
- Bleeding gums when you floss or brush your teeth
- Loose teeth
- Gums that appear pulled away from teeth
- Pus between gums and teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain while chewing food
- Malocclusion i.e. changes in bite
- Bad breath that is not affected by brushing
If you are suffering from this gum disease, you don’t need to panic. The first step towards treatment is practicing good oral hygiene. If you are a smoker, try to cut back or quit. There are several other treatments that can help with this condition, including:
- Deep cleaning of your teeth
- Antibiotic medications
If the condition has spread, you can get your dentist to remove the affected tooth and replace it with dental implants.
The best defense is a good offense. Regular visits to your dentist and practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent gingivitis.