What Is Gingivitis?

Friday, September 20th, 2013, 5:45 pm

Gingivitis is a term that gets thrown around a lot, especially in toothpaste commercials on TV! But what is gingivitis and should you be concerned about it?

Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and yes, it is something that you should take seriously. This common condition causes gums to be puffy, red and irritated but sometimes the symptoms are mild and the patient is not aware they have a problem. If gingivitis is not treated promptly it can lead to more serious forms of periodontal disease and eventual tooth loss.

Why Does Gingivitis Occur?

Gingivitis occurs when dental plaque, an invisible, sticky substance made of bacteria, forms on the teeth. Plaque is formed when the bacteria in your mouth interact with starches and sugars from food. Brushing and flossing remove plaque but it will reform within 24 hours so good oral hygiene is key.

Plaque that is not removed in time will harden into calculus (tartar) which cannot be removed by brushing along. This buildup shields the bacteria and allows them to flourish. Tartar needs to be removed by a professional dental cleaning- it will not go away with regular brushing and flossing.

The longer the plaque and tartar remain on your teeth the more the gums become irritated. This leads to puffy, sensitive gums that bleed easily – gingivitis.

Gingivitis and future gum disease can be avoided. Brush and floss every day and visit your dental hygienist every six months (more often if you are diabetic or have a history of gum disease). Contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your next visit.


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Category: gum disease, oral health

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