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What is Gingivitis?

Definition: Inflammation of the gum tissue caused by plaque and or tarter build-up

Definition: A common gum disease, characterized by swelling and soreness of the gums, inflammation and bleeding. Without treatment, it can cause serious gum problems and other disease.

Definition: Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums characterized by red, swollen and bleeding gums. It is a reversible condition associated with the build up and accumulation of plaque due to improper oral hygiene. Plaque is an irritant to the gums and causes inflammation.

What is periodontitis
Learn what periodontitis is.


Signs and symptoms
What are the most commons signs and symptoms of gingivitis
Causes of gingivitis
Common causes of gingivitis

How to treat Ginginvitis
How to treat Gingivitis





Nice healthy pink gums Inflamed, red and puffy gingivitis gums

If your gums are swollen, tender and bleed easily when you brush your teeth then you're not alone. One of the most common periodontal diseases is gingivitis, which develops when bacteria builds up in between your teeth and gums, leading to irritation, inflammation and bleeding. If you do not treated Gingivitis it can progress to a more serious form of gum diseases such as periodontitis and eventually lead to the destruction of bone and even tooth loss. What's more, women with periodontitis are far more likely to give birth to premature babies than women with healthy gums.

What is Periodontitis: Advanced gum disease; inflammation of gum tissue, which causes bone loss resulting in tooth loss if left untreated.

The good news is that gingivitis is both preventable and treatable. However factors such as medications and lowered immunity may make you more susceptible to gingivitis, the most common cause is poor oral hygiene. Daily brushing, flossing and regular professional cleanings can significantly reduce your risk of developing this potentially serious condition. If you already have gingivitis, professional cleaning can reverse the damage.

Sometimes inflammation of the gingiva can suddenly amplify, to cause a disease called Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingitivitis, or otherwise known as "trenchmouth." This results in extremely bad breath and painful gums. Fortunately, this can be cured with a 1-week dose of Metronidazole antibiotic, followed by a deep cleaning of the gums by a dentist.

Signs & Symptoms of Gingivitis

Because early-stage gum disease is seldom painful, you can have gingivitis without even knowing it. You are likely to have warning signs such as:

# Swollen, soft, red gums
# Gums that bleed easily, even if they are not sore. Many people first detect a change in their gums when they notice that the bristles of their toothbrush are pink- a sign that gums are bleeding with just slight pressure.
# A change in the color of your gums from a healthy pink to dusky red. See picture above.

Causes of Gingivitis

Gingivitis begins with plaque which is an invisible, sticky film, composed primarily of bacteria which forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Brushing your teeth removes plaque, but it re-forms quickly, usually within 24 hours.

Plaque that stays on your teeth longer than two or three days can harden under your gumline into tartar (calculus), a white substance that makes plaque more difficult to remove and that acts as a reservoir for bacteria. What's more, you usually can't get rid of tartar by brushing and flossing, so you'll need a professional cleaning or scale and polish to remove it.

The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva (see diagram) which is the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily.

Although plaque is by far the most common cause of gingivitis, other factors can contribute to or aggravate the condition, including:

Drugs Hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter antidepressants and cold remedies contain ingredients that decrease your body's production of saliva. As saliva has a cleansing effect on your teeth and helps inhibit bacterial growth, this means that plaque and tartar can build up more easily.
  - Other drugs, especially anti-seizure medications, calcium channel blockers and drugs that suppress your immune system, sometimes cause an overgrowth of gum tissue (gingival hyperplasia), making plaque much tougher to remove.
Viral and fungal infections Although bacteria are responsible for most cases of gingivitis, viral and fungal infections also can affect your gums. Acute herpetic gingivostomatitis, for instance, is an infection caused by the herpes virus that frequently leads to gum inflammation and to small, painful sores throughout your mouth. Oral thrush, which results when a fungus normally found in your mouth grows out of control, causes creamy white lesions on your tongue and inner cheeks. Sometimes these spread to the roof of your mouth, your tonsils and your gums.
Other diseases and conditions Some health problems not directly associated with your mouth can still affect your gums. People with leukemia may develop gingivitis when leukemic cells invade their gum tissue. Other conditions, such as oral lichus planus, a chronic inflammatory disease, and the rare, autoimmune skin diseases pemphigus and pemphigoid can cause gums to become so severely inflamed that they may peel away from the underlying tissue.
Hormonal changes During pregnancy gums are more susceptible to the damaging effects of plaque. The problem is compounded if you have morning sickness- nausea and vomiting may make it hard to brush your teeth regularly.
Poor nutrition A poor diet, especially one deficient in calcium, vitamin C and B vitamins, can contribute to periodontal disease. Calcium is important because it helps maintain the strength of your bones, including the bones that support your teeth. The recommended daily allowance for most adults is 1,200 milligrams a day- 1,500 milligrams if you are pregnant or are a postmenopausal woman not currently using HRT. Vitamin C helps maintain the integrity of connective tissue. It's also a powerful antioxidant that counters the tissue-destroying effects of free radicals- substances produced when oxygen is metabolized by your body. Although many fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin C, you may have low levels of this vitamin if you smoke, you eat a limited diet, or you have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa. Infants fed only cow's milk or unfortified formulas are also likely to be deficient in vitamin C.

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