Gum Disease Quick Guide: A Deeper Look at Gingivitis

gum disease Brooklyn, NY

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. This is a startling statistic, as there is more access to dental care in America than ever before. However, many patients may not be aware of the dangers of this condition, so it is important to understand all the facts. Gingivitis is the least severe form of gum disease and is reversible in many cases. 

Common questions about gingivitis

Gingivitis is the precursor to periodontal disease. While its effects are usually reversible, it is still a serious condition that requires treatment. Certain groups are more at risk, so it is important that these patients are on the lookout for symptoms related to this disease.

What causes gingivitis?

Gingivitis is caused when plaque is left around the gums for too long. This sticky film harbors harmful bacteria that cause inflammation of the gums. The gums eventually become so inflamed that they bleed when irritated, such as during brushing or flossing. Healthy gums should not bleed during normal hygiene activities. The gums can become sore, and it can sometimes be painful for the patient to chew certain foods. 

Who is at risk for gingivitis?

Children and teens who are not following strict guidelines for oral hygiene tend to be more at risk for this disease. However, other groups are vulnerable as well. Pregnant women's gums are sometimes more sensitive to plaque buildup, and elderly people who cannot brush effectively may struggle with this condition as well. Some medications may cause gum overgrowth and exacerbate gingivitis symptoms. It is important that at-risk groups receive instruction on prevention and early reversal of this disease. 

How is gingivitis treated?

Luckily, gingivitis can usually be reversed with no long-term effects. Routine dental cleanings, increased diligence with homecare habits and certain toothpastes can help counter gum inflammation and bleeding. The patient may need to brush their teeth three times a day instead of two.

What happens if gingivitis is not treated?

While the reversal of gingivitis is fairly simple, there are serious consequences if left untreated. It can turn into a more advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontal disease. This form is not reversible. It leads to bone loss around the teeth, which makes the teeth loose. Therefore, prevention and early detection of gum disease are essential to reduce its detrimental effects. 

Conclusion

While gingivitis affects many people in many stages of life, it does not have to turn into a more serious form of gum disease. It is important that a patient maintains regular dental hygiene visits so that risk factors can be assessed on a routine basis. For patients trying to reverse the effects of gingivitis, more frequent appointments may be necessary. For patients who suspect they have this issue, a consultation with a dentist is recommended to find out the right course of treatment.

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