What is Gingivitis and Should You Worry About It?

Most of us have heard of gingivitis. We may have seen ads on TV about it, or heard someone mention it, but what actually is it? “Gingivitis” is actually made up of two words: “gingiva,” which refers to the gums, and “itis,” which refers to inflammation. So, very basically, gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Unfortunately, gingivitis is really so much more than that, because when one’s gums become inflamed, it means there are underlying causes that can lead to far more serious conditions, like periodontal disease. That’s why it’s very important to address gingivitis by seeking out Orlando periodontics as soon as you suspect you may be suffering from it. Let’s take a closer look at what gingivitis is, what some of its risk factors are, and why it’s so important to address it promptly.

Healthy Gums Are Important

Most people don’t pay a whole lot of attention to their gums, so if they’re suffering from gingivitis, they may not even realize it until symptoms start to appear. Healthy gums are firm and pale pink in color, and are fitted tightly around the teeth. But gums that are affected by gingivitis will bleed easily during brushing — in fact, it’s the bleeding that typically first alerts people to the condition. But there are other symptoms as well, including swollen or puffy gums, gums that are dark red, receding or tender gums, and bad breath. But what causes gingivitis? There are several reasons why a person might develop this condition, but the main culprit is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form on teeth. If plaque is allowed to remain, it’ll harden under the gum line and turn into tartar, and tartar is a magnet for bacteria. The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate your gums, causing them to inflame. Over time, your gums will become swollen and bleed easily, and if left unaddressed, gingivitis can lead to something far more serious: periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Orlando Periodontics Can Help with Periodontal Disease

As we mentioned, bad oral hygiene is one of the main causes of gingivitis, but there are others. Smoking or chewing tobacco, dry mouth, and older age are all associated with the condition. Gingivitis is actually a very mild form of gum disease, or periodontal disease, and the bad news is, if left untreated, it will almost always develop into a full-blown version of the disease. But the good news is, the effects of gingivitis can be halted and reversed if you see a professional the minute you suspect you might be suffering from it. It’s also very important to maintain good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing. It’s also important that you see your oral hygienist on a regular basis, because he or she can clean your teeth more thoroughly than you’re able to at home, and can catch potential problems before they become more serious.

Gingivitis is not an uncommon condition, so if you think you might be suffering from it, reach out to our Orlando periodontics office today!