Have you noticed your gums bleeding when you brush your teeth? You may be seeing the first signs of gingivitis.
What is gingivitis? It’s an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in a plaque buildup. It doesn’t necessarily signal gum disease, but is a precursor of it.
How does gingivitis develop?
In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causing the gums to become inflamed and to easily bleed during tooth brushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.
That’s the good news. But left untreated, it can lead to serious gum disease or periodontitis.
In a person with periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.
Toxins or poisons — produced by the bacteria in plaque as well as the body’s “good” enzymes involved in fighting infections — start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, they become loose, and tooth loss occurs.
Gum disease is the leading reason for tooth loss in adults.
That’s a pretty unpleasant scenario. But it is one you don’t have to suffer. Gingivitis is your warning that all is not well with your gums.
The obvious key to preventing gingivitis and thereby gum disease is good oral hygiene. That includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day, regular dental care and we recommend regular dental cleanings to ensure the plaque isn’t allowed to accumulate and begin that destructive process.
So if you see those warning signs that say you may have gingivitis, give us a call and set up and appointment. Don’t let it become a bad problem.
If you have any questions about gingivitis or gum disease in general give us a call. We’d be glad to discuss it with you.