If you’ve ever seen a commercial for tooth paste or floss, you’ve probably heard the term “gingivitis.” What is gingivitis? It’s a term your dentist uses to define an early stage of gums disease — also known as periodontal disease. Untreated, gingivitis will nearly always develop into full-blown gum disease, which can have profound health implications far beyond your mouth.
Gingivitis is characterized by inflammation of the gum tissue — the gums will start to turn a deep red and will appear puffy. They’ll be particularly fragile and sensitive, and will likely bleed every time a patient suffering from gingivitis brushes their teeth properly (to say nothing of bleeding during flossing). The inflammation comes from a bacterial infection caused by plaque accumulation on the teeth adjacent to the infected gums.
The simplest way to avoid the problems associated with gingivitis is of course never to have it in the first place; proper brushing and flossing, along with regularly scheduled visits to your dentist, can help you control the bacteria and plaque build up, making it difficult for gingivitis to take hold. If it has, the next best thing is a visit to the dentist for a thorough cleaning as soon as possible.
Your dentist will remove plaque and tartar through a procedure known as scaling; basically, either with a metal scraper or a sonic water tool, the plaque is physically taken off the teeth. This can be uncomfortable, particularly if the inflammation has progressed, but modern dental practices have minimized the discomfort during scaling and made the process far superior to the experience patients had even just a few short years ago.
Again, prevention is the best cure, and nowhere is that more true than with oral health. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact our office today!