What is Gum Disease (Gingivitis)

What is Gum Disease (Gingivitis)

Everyone is susceptible to gum disease. It occurs after prolonged exposure to plaque, which is the colorless, gummy film that forms on teeth after eating or sleeping. Plaque is easy to remove if you brush and floss regularly, but subpar dental hygiene can cause this substance to build up and damage your teeth and gums. The condition is medically known as Gingivitis.

The gums are where the highest concentration of bacteria, food particles, and other materials build up after eating. If a patient is not flossing regularly or brushing thoroughly, the gums can become inflamed and sore due to the excess material in and around them.

Soreness and redness are the first signs of gum disease, as well as bad breath that won’t go away, painful gums, and frequent but minor bleeding after brushing and flossing. Most people do not know they have gingivitis, however, and this can cause the condition to worsen. In some cases, infections can occur that cause the teeth and gums to separate. When this happens, it makes for even more opportunities for infection, decay, and cavities.

Gum disease can be avoided as long as proper tooth care is being practiced. It is imperative to visit a dentist regularly to check for this and other dental conditions. If gum disease goes untreated, serious problems such as abscesses, bone loss, tooth loss, and even periodontitis can arise.

Periodontitis is a serious and painful dental condition that must be handled by a dentist. It can become very painful, but it is treatable. Your dentist can treat this with a number of procedures. One procedure, called root planning, is performed when your dentist scrapes below the gum line to smooth the roots. Dentists will know whether or not this works by monitoring the behavior of the gums. If successful, the gums will reattach themselves to the tooth structure.

This procedure can be effective the majority of the time, but in some cases, scaling and root planning does not help the tooth and gums reattach to one another. If this is the case, further procedures, including some forms of surgery, may be needed to cure the periodontal pockets. In some cases, a procedure called Bone Grafts may need to be performed. This involves using small fragments of you own bone, donated bone, or artificial bone to replace the bone that has been destroyed by gum disease. If effective, the grafts will promote bone growth and restored tooth stability. Ask your dentist about even more procedures.

Other conditions besides poor dental hygiene have been known to cause cases of gingivitis. Pregnancy, for instance, can cause gum disease due to the unpredictable influx or diminishing of hormones in a woman’s body that can sometimes induce excess plaque production.

The best way to combat gum disease is to visit a dentist regularly and practice proper dental hygiene at home. This includes brushing, flossing twice a day, utilizing mouth wash, and monitoring plaque buildup following meals and sleeping. Chewing sugarless gum after meals may also help cut down on plaque production.

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