If you are one of the unlucky few who are struggling with bleeding gums or super-sensitive teeth, chances are that you have an oral condition known as gingivitis. This is a type of gum disease that reflects mild to moderate inflammation of the gums. The danger of leaving this condition untreated is that it transforms into a more serious problem by the name periodontitis. But before you go ahead of yourself and start worrying about this more serious condition, it's best you familiarize yourself with the various aspects surrounding gingivitis, which are explained below.
What are the Causes of Gingivitis?
The number one cause of gingivitis is poor dental care. This means that when you fail to brush and floss your teeth after every meal and before going to bed, then you will probably be confronted by the gingivitis nightmare sooner or later.
Besides poor dental care, there are various other triggers of gingivitis, including tobacco use, poorly controlled sugar levels, and hormonal imbalances during pregnancy. There are also certain medications that can trigger this oral condition. Poorly fitting dentures, crowns and braces can also cause gingivitis. Those who suffer from diseases that weaken the immune system are also known to increase the risk of gingivitis.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
The following are the signs and symptoms that can clear your doubts on whether you are suffering from gingivitis or not:
- Bleeding gums
- Recurring mouth sores
- Tender gums
- Swollen gums
- Shiny and visibly irritated gums
- Bad breath that won't just go away
- Loose or oversensitive teeth
- Pain when you chew
How Gingivitis is Diagnosed
Gingivitis can be diagnosed after a thorough medical examination of the mouth is done. During the examination, the dentist uses a probe (a small, ruler-like tool) to measure the areas between the teeth and gum tissue. If the measurements reveal that the gap between the gum line and the teeth is larger than normal, it is determined that one has gingivitis. Dental X-rays are also used to determine whether there is loss of bone tissue.
Treatments for Gingivitis
Once it has been established that a person suffers from gingivitis, it's highly imperative that treatment be sought sooner rather than later. Besides performing a deep cleaning of the teeth, a dentist may prescribe medications to counteract bacteria and inflammation.
While there are treatment options for gingivitis, it's best to practice good oral hygiene practices to avoid the whole gingivitis nightmare altogether. Now that you know the damage this oral condition can cause, don't hesitate to pay your dentist like Scott W. Murphy, D.M.D., P.A. a visit every once in a while.