Gingivitis is an inflammation of the healthy gum tissue in your mouth. If you have ever noticed your gums being tender, red, or swollen, you may have gum disease. Gum disease, or gingivitis, arises when your gums pull away from your teeth after becoming infected or inflamed as a result of the toxins in bacteria left behind by plaque. Plaque is the sticky bacterial film that coats the teeth and gums and causes gum disease. There are many reasons why gingivitis might manifest itself, including smoking, aging, poor diet, hormonal fluctuations (puberty, pregnancy), heredity, diabetes and stress.
If you have advanced gingivitis, or periodontitis, the bacteria in plaque has advanced to the tissue below the gum line, leaving behind toxins from the bacteria to irritate the gums. Inflammation then develops, so that the tissues and bones supporting the teeth break down. Once this happens, pockets form between the teeth and gums where the gums have pulled away from the teeth. As the bacteria infects the gum tissue, they recede—or pull away–from the teeth. Ultimately this inflammation loosens the teeth so much that they may even require removal.
Gingivitis is normally treated by stepping up your oral hygiene routine–brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once daily, and having our dentist remove any hardened plaque during six month checkups and cleanings. With proper care and maintenance, your gum disease is highly treatable. If you have any questions or concerns, please call our staff at Smiles Dental at 360.335.3998 today!