Gingivitis (Gum Disease)

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum surrounding the teeth.It is a common and mild periodontal disease that causes inflammation,redness and swelling of the gum.It is important to take gingivitis seriously because when left untreated it can lead to serious periodontal disease and eventually tooth loss.

CAUSES

Gingivitis is caused by inadequate oral hygiene such as not brushing teeth regularly and not flossing. This causes bacteria in plaque to build causing the gum to inflame and bleed easily during brushing. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed mainly of bacteria. Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Plague is often removed by daily brushing and flossing. When plague is left for a long time, it causes tartar which creates a shield for bacteria.This causes irritation of the gingiva thus inflaming the gum and making it bleed easily.If left untreated , the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away and form sockets.These small spaces between the teeth collects debris and become infected. The body’s immune system starts to fight these infections and start to break the bone and connective tissue that holds the teeth in place.Tooth become loose and tooth loss occur eventually.

RISK FACTORS FOR GINGIVITIS

Some factors that contribute to gingivitis include

Hormonal changes related to puberty, menopause,pregnancy and monthly period make gum more sensitive. This makes it easier to develop gingivitis.
Medications . Certain medications affects oral health because some lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums. Such medications include Procardia and Dilantin
illness such as HIV that affects your immune system which may affect gum health.People with diabetes are at higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease and cavities.
Poor oral hygiene such as not brushing and flossing daily
tobacco use
certain viral and fungal infections
old age
dry mouth
poor nutrition
substance abuse
family history

SYMPTOMS

Gum disease may proceed painlessly with less obvious signs.Some signs of gingivitis include

soft puffy gums
swollen gum
gum bleeding easily when cleaning or flossing
change in color of gum from pale pink to dusky red
bad breadth
receding gum
formation of deep pockets between gums and teeth
loose or shifting of teeth

TEST AND DIAGNOSIS

Gingivitis is often diagnosed based on symptoms you describe to your dentist and examination of teeth, mouth and gum. If it not clear how gum disease developed, a thorough medical evaluation is recommended to check for underlying medical condition

TREATMENT

Early treatment of gingivitis can reverse the disease and prevent further serious damage to the gum

Professional Care include

thorough dental cleaning to remove all traces of plaque and tartar.This is known as scaling. Some patients may find scaling uncomfortable, especially if tartar build-up is extensive, or the gums are very sensitive.
Regular follow-up professional checkups and cleaning
Fixing dental restorations such as crooked teeth, badly fitted crowns or bridges that hinder adequate hygiene
dentist explains to the patient the importance of oral hygiene, and how to effectively brush his/her teeth, as well as flossing

Home care

brushing at least twice a day . An electric tooth-brush is recommended
flossing daily
using antiseptic mouth wash if recommended

PREVENTION OF GINGIVITIS

Good mouth and oral health is essential to prevent gingivitis.That means brushing your teeth at least twice daily — in the morning and before going to bed or after every meal and flossing at least once a day. It is also advised to see dentist usually every six months.Treatment of underlying health condition can also resolve gingivitis.It is also advised to stop smoking, eat balance diet, and reduce stress.

COMPLICATIONS OF GINGIVITIS

Untreated gingivitis may present general health problems to individuals. These include stroke, heart attack and lung disease. Pregnant women with gum disease have higher risk of giving birth to premature and low birth weight babies.

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