Gingivitis is a term that we hear frequently, and we don’t mean “we” as in our dental team. We mean to say that this mild dental condition is one that has gotten adequate air time over the past several years. Here is what is so interesting about problems like gingivitis. We hear about them. We think we know about them, but what is happening is our mind believing that “this problem will not happen to me.”
You may have found yourself in this very situation. You thought you understood what you needed to know about gingivitis, and thought your gums were in pretty good health. At least you thought that until your last dental appointment, when you were told that you, in fact, have gingivitis. Now what? How did this happen, and where do you go from here? Let’s go to the beginning and work our way forward.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a form of gum disease. Don’t panic just yet! This early inflammatory condition is not the full-blown infection that can cost you your smile. To have gingivitis means to have irritated gums. The redness and swelling may be so slight that you have missed the signs for months. Except for that little bit of bleeding that happened now and then when you would brush or floss. Because the symptoms of gingivitis are so subtle, it is often only during the routine checkup that the condition is identified.
Now, as mild as gingivitis is, that does not mean you don’t have to take this seriously. Gingivitis is the stepping stone to gum disease; that infection we mentioned that could cost you your smile.
Why did you get Gingivitis?
We hate to say it, but gingivitis is typically the result of poor oral hygiene. Inflammation develops because plaque has formed around some of your teeth. You can see the plaque, so it may not get removed with oral hygiene practice. Left undisturbed, plaque will harden and become stuck to enamel, usually right at the gum line. Inflammation (and later, infection) stems from the direct contact with acidic byproduct left by bacteria.
There are a few underlying factors that may make you prone to gingivitis, such as pregnancy or other hormonal fluctuations. Know your risks by talking with your dentist or hygienist.
Here’s the good news about your gingivitis diagnosis. This condition can be eliminated. Getting the care and support you need gives you the ammunition to protect your oral health in the future.
Is it time for your routine checkup? Call (847) 223-5200.