Everyone has heard about gingivitis as a result of many ads on television for a variety of dental products. However, most people really do not know what it is and how it can be treated. In short, gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease, which is an inflammation of the gums and bony structure of the mouth, as a result of the build up of plaque.
Plaque is a type of bacterial bio-film, which attaches to the teeth and over time cause inflammation and bacterial infection of the gums, ultimately resulting in the loss of teeth. Symptoms of gingivitis include inflamed gums, which a red swollen or tend to bleed when brushing of flossing. Gingivitis is a fairly common and mild form of periodontal disease and in most cases is completely preventable, as well as reversible.
Anyone can get gingivitis, but there are a number of lifestyle and health factors that can increase the likelihood of the disease occurring. Lifestyle factors include smoking, stress, substance abuse and diet, while health factors include diabetes, hormonal changes, pregnancy, medications and a variety of other diseases and conditions. Age also factors into the equation as well.
Prevention of gingivitis is, in most cases, completely preventable, by regular and proper at home dental care. This includes brushing after every meal, flossing at least once a day and the use of an anti-plaque mouthwash at least once a day. In addition, a bi-annual dental exam and professional teeth cleaning should be done every 6 months to check for the presence of gingivitis. The key is to not let the easily treatable gingivitis progress into full-scale periodontal disease!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Virginia Kirkland, North Point Periodontics
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