Gingivitis is an inflammatory disorder affecting the soft and hard structures supporting the teeth. Most often, it develops when plaque spreads below the gum line and produces toxins. These irritate the gums and in response, the area becomes raw and damaged.
Those who have ever muscled through the pain of gingivitis know how excruciating having red, swollen and even bloody gums can be. Gingivitis is actually the mildest form of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) and is reversible with professional treatment and good oral care.
Things that contribute to gingivitis include:
- A genetic predisposition
- Systemic diseases
- Stress hormones
If left unchecked, gingivitis can become quite devastating. Chronic periodontitis occurs when the area becomes so inflamed that patients can experience attachment and bone loss. Other versions of the disease exist as well. These include aggressive periodontitis (in which clinically healthy patients experience attachment loss and bone destruction); periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic diseases (which usually happens at a young age because of conditions such as heart and respiratory disease or diabetes); and necrotizing periodontal disease (common in those with suppressed immune systems and those who are malnourished).
Luckily, gingivitis can easily be detected before things get out of hand. If you notice any of the below symptoms you should see us ASAP:
- Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
- Bleeding when flossing, brushing or when eating hard foods
- Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer
- Loose or separating teeth
- Sores in your mouth
- Persistent bad breath
- A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
The good news is gingivitis can be prevented before it rears its gunky head. This means bringing out the toothpaste, floss, and mouth rinse regularly at home. If you’ve had it before it’s also very important to pop in for regular check-ups.
One way or another, we’ve got the tools to make sure gingivitis never overstays its welcome.