The other day in the “Pickles” cartoon Opal was telling Earl how cute their grandson, Nelson, was. Earl responded that he was called cute when he was younger also. In fact he said just recently his dentist had said he was cute. Opal corrected him saying the dentist told him he had “acute gingivitis”.
Gingivitis is certainly not cute. In our country more than half the population has gingivitis in various stages of severity. Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition in our mouths that has direct correlation with other inflammatory diseases in our bodies. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease, low birth weight and others are all systemic inflammation conditions that effect each other. If we can eliminate a source of inflammation, our whole bodies will be better off. It is caused by a buildup of bacteria surrounding the teeth which is allowed to stay there undisturbed for extended times. This bacteria in our mouths are normally beneficial but when accumulated in large colonies in dental plaque around the teeth they irritate the gums and cause tooth decay. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums, bleeding when the gums are touched, pus extruded when the gum is pressed and loose teeth. These symptoms are often associated with hard tartar deposits on the teeth and down on their root surfaces. These rough surfaces allow the plaque to build up against the gums causing the gums to be irritated and inflamed and in time the bone holding the tooth in place will be lost. As the bone is lost deep pockets form around the teeth which are harder to clean. Thus the plaque stays and the gingivitis process continues at an accelerated rate.
Gingivitis can be controlled. Good oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings are very effective in preventing this problem.Once the disease process has started your dentist and dental hygienist need to provide special treatments. Often the destructive process can be stopped and healthy gums can be maintained.
We here at Lowry Dental are very conscious of the destructive nature of gingivitis and strive to provide the best preventive treatment and if necessary the best therapeutic treatment to resolve the damage caused by this way too common problem. Please call our office if you have any questions or feel you may be experiencing some of the symptoms of gingivitis.