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What is Gingivitis?

5th July 2018, 9:46pm EST

Gingivitis is a dental disorder characterized by the inflammation of the gums. It occurs after films of bacteria accumulate around the teeth (plaque induced gingivitis). Gingivitis is one of the non-destructive types of periodontal diseases. Gingivitis could worsen and progress to periodontitis if left un-attended.

Periodontitis is worse and could lead to the loss of your tooth. Individuals with gingivitis have puffy and red gums and bleed once they brush their teeth. Gingivitis can be solved with proper dental hygiene- flossing, as well as more frequent and longer brushing. In mild cases of the diseases, individuals may not realize that they have it since the symptoms are mild. However, the symptoms should be addressed immediately.

Gingival diseases are categorized into two categories which include:

Plaque induced gingivitis

  • Caused only by plaque
  • Gingivitis caused by medications
  • Gingivitis as a result of malnutrition
  • Gingivitis caused by systemic factors.

Non-plaque induced gingivitis

  • Gingivitis caused by a particular virus
  • Gingivitis caused by specific bacteria
  • Gingivitis created by some genetic factor

Signs and symptoms of Gingivitis

A symptom is the feeling described by the patient. A symptom could include painful gums. Signs are what everyone can see including the nurses and the doctors. A sign could include a swelling. However, at mild cases, there might be no identifiable signs or symptoms. Gingivitis has several signs and symptoms that include:

  • Gums are purple or bright red
  • Gums bleed when flossing or brushing teeth
  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Soft gums
  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Receding gums
  • Sometimes gums are painful to touch and are tender
  • Soft gums

Causes of Gingivitis

Accumulation of plague- Accumulation of plaque between and around the teeth triggers an immune response that eventually destroys the gingival tissue.
Dental plaque- The plaque accumulates around the teeth naturally. The plaque hardens leading to periodontal diseases, and tooth decay. The periodontal diseases include periodontitis and gingivitis.

Other causes of gingivitis include:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Some drug medications
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Other diseases e.g. cancer

Gingivitis could be diagnosed by observing the symptoms. However periodontal probing and use of x-ray can be applied.

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