May 4, 2017
(Article from Dr. Berger reprinted from Image Magazine)
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums (gingivia), and is a mild form of periodontal disease that affects the health of the gum tissues. Gingivitis occurs when a white, thin, sticky film called plaque forms on the exterior surfaces of the teeth and around the gums. You can get plaque from food debris, mucous, and bacteria, which could result in decay. If plaque is not removed, it will form into a harder substance/ deposit called calculus or tartar that remains at the base of the teeth around the gums, which will then infect the gums and cause them to swell and bleed.
Gum disease may be painless and could affect only certain teeth such as the molars, but the most common areas where you could physically see if you have gingivitis would be around the upper and lower front teeth. Plaque tends to build up quicker in the lower front teeth, which will make gingivitis more noticeable than the top front teeth.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gingivitis?
- Bleeding gums resulting from bacteria trapped underneath the gums.
- Swollen or bulbous gums
- Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
- Irritation upon touching the gums
- Red or tender gums
- Bad taste in the mouth with persistent bad breath
- Deep pockets (space) between teeth and gums
When gingivitis is left untreated, it could lead to periodontitis, in which the inflamed area can cause the bone to break down instead of rebuilding. For those with misaligned teeth, any form of orthodontic treatment is recommended for the prevention of
plaque buildup. There are other lifestyle and health changes that candecrease the risk of gingivitis:
- Don’t smoke. Smokers are more likely to get gingivitis than nonsmokers. Tobacco is the # 1 risk factor for periodontitis.
- Reduce stress. Too much stress in your life can be difficult for your body’s immune system to fight the infection.
- Eat adequate and well-balance meals. Proper diet will help your body’s immune system to fight infection.
- Take vitamins daily, especially, and eat food that contains antioxidants such as leafy or green vegetables and citrus fruits that can help your body repair damaged tissues.
Is Gum Disease Linked to Other Health Problems?
According to the CDC, “researchers have uncovered potential links between gum disease and other serious health conditions. In people with healthy immune systems, the bacteria in the mouth that makes its way into the bloodstream is usually harmless.” But under certain circumstances, the CDC says these microorganisms are associated with health problems such as stroke and heart disease. Diabetes is not only a risk factor for gum disease, but gum disease may make diabetes worse.