WHAT IS GINGIVITIS? SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND TREATMENTS
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease caused by the buildup of plaque, a naturally occurring biofilm containing bacteria, on the tissues that surround the teeth. The bacteria in the plaque will cause inflammation which can result in swelling and redness of the gum tissue. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more severe form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Gingivitis is often painless, so if you exhibit any signs or symptoms be sure to visit your dental professional for a proper assessment and to determine a course of treatment.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is commonly caused by the buildup of plaque around the gumline. Plaque is a biofilm that is extremely sticky, and colorless to pale yellow in appearance that contains many types of bacteria that builds up on your teeth if not removed regularly by twice daily toothbrushing. The bacteria produce acids that attack both your tooth enamel and damage the gums. This damage has the possibility of becoming permanent if left untreated. Other causes of gingivitis include hormonal changes, illnesses, smoking, taking certain medications, bad brushing habits, and genetics.
Gingivitis Symptoms and Signs
Some symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, and bleeding gums in addition to bad breath. When gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets. Bacteria can then become trapped in these pockets, weakening the bone supporting the teeth. If you ignore the signs of gingivitis because you don’t recognize them or because you are worried about seeking care from a dental professional, your condition will get worse. Make sure to see your dental professional immediately if you notice any of these signs and symptoms to receive a proper assessment. If these symptoms persist, it's important to talk with your dental professional to determine the best treatment option for you.