what is gingivitis gum disease

What causes gum disease gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an infection caused by bacteria. In about a day’s time, mouth bacteria multiply and form a sticky, almost invisible, film on the teeth called plaque. Plaque that is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into calculus (tartar). In some cases, the plaque and calculus cause the gums to become red and inflamed and may bleed on brushing. This condition is called gingivitis.

When plaque and calculus are not removed the bacteria in plaque produce toxins (or poisons) that can destroy the supporting tissues and bone around the teeth, this happens in the later stages of gingivitis. Your own immune system attacks not only these invading bacteria but also the body’s own tissues, carving deep pockets between the teeth and gums. As gingivitis progress, these pockets deepen, more gum tissue and bone are destroyed and the teeth eventually become loose. If periodontal diseases are not treated, the teeth may eventually need to be removed.

gingivitis before treatment

gingivitis before treatment

gingivitis after treatment

gingivitis after treatment

What is the definition of gingivitis

Gingivitis is defined as inflammation of the gums; gingivitis is characterized by red, swollen, bleeding gums. This is the mildest stage of periodontal disease and is common in adults as well as children.

“There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage and with treatment gingivitis is usually reversible.”

Periodontal diseases are bacterial gum infections that destroy the attachment fibres and supporting bone that hold your teeth in your mouth. The main cause of these diseases is bacterial plaque, a sticky, colourless film that constantly forms on your teeth.

If plaque is not removed on a daily basis it can build up on the tooth surface and turn into a hard substance called calculus. Calculus, also known as tartar, is calcified dental plaque and is considered a contributing factor in causing gingivitis and more advanced periodontal diseases, such as periodontitis.

How to prevent gingivitis

brushing will prevent early gum disease

brushing will prevent early gum disease

bleeding gums may indicate gingivitis

bleeding gums may indicate gingivitis

Gingivitis can be prevented through regular oral hygiene that includes daily brushing and flossing. Interdental brushes are also useful in cleaning the teeth from plaque. Hydrogen peroxide, saline, alcohol or chlorhexidine mouth washes may also be employed. In a recent clinical study, the beneficial effect of hydrogen peroxide on gingivitis has been highlighted. Rigorous plaque control programs along with periodontal scaling and curettage also have proved to be helpful, although according to the American Dental Association, periodontal scaling and root planing are considered as a treatment to periodontal disease, not as a preventive treatment for periodontal disease. In a 1997 review of effectiveness data the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found clear evidence which showed that toothpaste containing triclosan was effective in preventing gingivitis. In many countries, such as the United States, mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine are available only by prescription.

Researchers analyzed government data on calcium consumption and periodontal disease indicators in nearly 13,000 U.S. adults. They found that men and women who had calcium intakes of fewer than 500 milligrams, or about half the recommended dietary allowance, were almost twice as likely to have gum disease, as measured by the loss of attachment of the gums from the teeth. The association was particularly evident for people in their 20s and 30s.

Preventing gum disease may also benefit a healthy heart. According to physicians with The Institute for Good Medicine at the Pennsylvania Medical Society, good oral health can reduce risk of cardiac events. Poor oral health can lead to infections that can travel within the bloodstream.

Extracts of this text have been adapted under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. BPI Dental acknowledge and credit the author (s) of the original work which is used and / or appears in parts of this work. Link to source material http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gingivitis