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Gingivitis is a reversible condition which results in swollen, reddened and bleeding gums. The teeth may or may not be sensitive, the condition being either acute or chronic or localised or generalised You also may be experiencing a sour taste or bad breath. Often, you may not be aware of the condition and hence may leave it untreated, causing further complications to treatment success.
What causes gingivitis?
Gingivitis is caused by colonies of bacteria building up and maturing at the gum line. This is called plaque and produces a variety of acids and toxins, which have a role in both gum disease and tooth decay. These toxins irritate the gums, causing an immune response (the body sending antibodies to the gums to fight off the bacteria present). Hence, the gums swell and bleed, either spontaneously or when you brush/floss.
These bacteria are soft and easily disrupted by effective brushing flossing and mouth washing
Why is it important to treat gingivitis promptly?
If gingivitis is not resolved and occurs on a chronic level,it can progress to a deeper infection of the tooth’s supporting structures, such as the bone and attachment fibres. This is known as periodontal disease. The bacteria responsible not only invade the gum tissues but also destroy the fibres that attach the tooth to the bone, which anchor it securely within your mouth. As a result, the gum recedes from the tooth and the tooth may become loose.
How is gingivitis treated?
Firstly. The gum condition will be assessed, by measuring the pockets of gum around each tooth, recording the points of bleeding and where the gum-line sits against the tooth. This is called periodontal analysis
Secondly. To eliminate the gingivitis, the teeth will be scaled and polished to remove hard and soft plaque deposits so the body can overcome the gum infection
Thirdly. You will be instructed in oral hygiene techniques, for example how to use the electric toothbrush. If your gum condition is complicated by lack of saliva, smoking or medications, specific products will be recommended to boost your salivary defences
Lastly. An appointment to assess whether the gums have healed will be made in six to eight week’s time. This allows the gums time to heal and the clinician to best monitor your response to the therapy performed
How can future gingivitis be prevented?
Gingivitis is very easily prevented on two levels: a twice-daily oral hygiene routine to control soft plaque levels and regular four or six monthly visits to the oral hygienist for scaling and polishing.