Affecting many Americans, Gingivitis is an infection of the gums, with the root cause being inflammation. While it is a reversible inflammatory disease, Gingivitis, if left untreated, can easily lead to Periodontal (Gum) Disease. Gum disease is more difficult to combat. Thus, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the signs and symptoms of Gingivitis. The question is–Do you know what to look for?
Healthy Gums VS. Diseased Gums
It’s important to consider the appearance of healthy gums. Generally, gums that are healthy are pale-colored or light pink. They are firm in texture and fit tightly next to teeth. Individuals with healthy gums will not experience pain or sensitivity while brushing or flossing, and gums will not bleed.
By contrast, gums affected by Gingivitis are red, and appear to be swollen and puffy. While bleeding is a strong indicator (especially while brushing and flossing), individuals may also notice pus surrounding the gum tissue. In some cases, gums begin to recede, or pull away from teeth. Though pain may not be severe in those with Gingivitis, tenderness is often noted.
To better understand Gingivitis and how gums become diseased, think about the body’s response to infection or trauma. When any part of the body becomes compromised, the reaction is somewhat the same. The area swells, becomes red and hot, and individuals experience pain or discomfort there. Typically, this is a one-time occurrence, and the area is cleaned or treated with medication.
Gingivitis, on the other hand, is a result of chronic, or ongoing infection that has not been treated. Basically, a bacterium that has accumulated between the teeth and gums is the main cause. However, other factors are believed to contribute–stress, pregnancy, puberty, hormone fluctuations, poor nutrition, HIV, and smoking.
See Your Dentist
While you may understand a bit more about Gingivitis and what to look for, it’s important to see your dentist. When discovered in its early stages, Gingivitis can be reversed.
At Grateful Dental, Dr. Leia Porcaro is passionate about helping families achieve optimal oral health, including healthy gums. Are you experiencing signs and symptoms of Gingivitis? Do not delay. Dr. Porcaro and the caring team at Grateful Dental are ready to partner with you today to restore the health of your gums.