In the realm of oral diseases, few are more common and irritating than gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes redness, swelling and discomfort in the gum areas. As a standalone disease, gingivitis is mild. However, if left untreated, the disease becomes more serious, leading to gum diseases such as periodontitis, and later, tooth loss.
The most common cause of gingivitis is a patient possessing poor oral hygiene. The symptoms are most evident within the gums themselves. Healthy gums are characterized by a firm and pale pink appearance. If the case of gingivitis, gums are dark red and puffy, recede, and are prone to bleeding easily. Those affected by gingivitis also experience the symptoms of bad breath. Despite the physical changes, however, gingivitis is not characterized as being sensitive or painful, outside of some tenderness.
One of the largest factors that accelerates gingivitis is plaque, which is a sticky translucent white film that is comprised of bacteria. Plaque is the result of foods that contain starches and sugars interacting with bacteria found inside a patient's mouth. While a regular routine (at least twice a day) of brushing one's teeth and flossing is important to this removal, a regular oral care schedule is necessary as plaque can reform on teeth within 24 hours.
Plaque that remains on teeth for several days can form tartar, which hardens under the gumline. Tartar is difficult to remove (requiring a professional dental cleaner or exam to scrape tartar) as it creates a retaining shield for bacteria, keeping the harmful properties to eat away at teeth and cause decay. Even if teeth are kept clean, saliva also creates plaque due to its high mineral content, which continues to wear away at teeth.
Due to gingivitis being such a common oral disease, anyone can develop it. Left untreated, the disease can progress and spread to underlying tissue and bones. In more serious stages, gingivitis can lead to tooth loss. Advanced stages of periodontal disease can lead to health conditions throughout the body through the spread of infection. This infection causes conditions such as heart attacks, lung disease, and strokes within those affected.
While poor oral health habits are the largest culprit for this disease, there are other conditions such as age, nutrition habits, medical conditions such as diabetes, a decreased immune system, viral or fungal infections, hormonal changes, tobacco or substance abuse, or certain medications.
Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups, can help prevent gingivitis, as well as the development of other symptoms. A dentist can help to discuss treatment options while suggestion options for self-care at home between appointments to restore teeth back to their original and healthier state.
To prevent the spread of gingivitis, tartar, periodontal disease and other harmful oral conditions, schedule your next appointment today by contacting Cabrillo Family Dental Care by phone (650) 359-1646, or by visiting our website at http://www.pacificadentist.com/ - Cabrillo Family Dental Care present premium quality dental care in the Pacifica, CA, area.