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December 23 2010

Causes and Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis, also referred to as gum disease , is an inflammation of the gums and soft tissues surrounding the teeth. Excellent dental hygiene and regular dental visits are the best ways to prevent gingivitis. Although the condition can be mild to uncomfortable, if left untreated it can lead to other more serious conditions . While gingivitis is common , it is important to understand the underlying causes and symptoms to be able to identify   it.

Gingivitis is essentially a bacterial infection in the mouth . Healthy mouths normally contain large amounts of bacteria. However, when plaque begins to form on teeth, the bacteria begin to invade and wreak havoc . with that , most people may also have another issue in order for the gum disease to occur. Sometimes, it is a medical condition such as diabetes, Wegner disease, or HIV. In other cases, the hormonal changes accompanied by puberty or pregnancy can render the gums defensless to Gingivitis. There are also medications such as those for high blood pressure that can affect the gum structures enough to allow infections.

The symptoms of gum disease are straightforward and easy to recognize. They include swelling and redness of the gums, soreness, bleeding, bad breath and a receding gum line.

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When these symptoms are noticed, it is very important to seek dental treatment.  A dentist will scrape off the plaque responsible for the inflammation, and in most cases, a thorough cleaning and education about continuing oral hygiene will stop gingivitis in it’s tracks. Once the source of the bacterial infection has been removed, and after a short time , the body will heal and the inflammation will go down . Continuing regular dental visits will control any forming plaque build-up and prevent gingivitis from returning .

Despite the body’s warning signs, many people allow their gum disease to go untreated. If left on it’s own , gingivitis can progress into a more severe periodontal infection. The teeth can become loose, roots could become exposed, and the infection can spread into the teeth and bone. Losing teeth and even some bone can happen which would require tooth replacement with dental implants, dentures, or bridges. The most severe case is called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). It requires emergency medical care and can be life threatening. Neglecting the mouth can be just as serious as neglecting the body.