Gingivitis in Huntingdon County | What is this Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. The inflammation is most commonly caused by bacteria. The mouth is a great place for bacteria to live. Being that it is warm, dark, and moist and no shortage of food it is heaven for these little single-celled creatures. Low levels of bacteria do not harm us at all, although if your immune system is not healthy the bacteria will be allowed to reproduce rapidly and overwhelm your body’s defense system. The immune system can also be overwhelmed if the bacteria are allowed to multiple rapidly, by feeding them sugars and not removing them daily with a brush & floss. (Note – rinsing with and anti-microbial mouth rinse is never enough, the bacteria need to be physically removed from the teeth via brushing and flossing.)

Gingivitis can sometimes be exacerbated with hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy, puberty, and steroid therapy. Medications used for seizures, high blood pressure and organ transplants can also promote gum infection, through suppressing the immune system.

Symptoms of gingivitis can include one or many of the following; swelling, redness, pain, and bleeding of the gums, bad breath and bad taste. If you have one or any of these symptoms consult your dentist and hygienist, they can help you by thoroughly cleaning the teeth and showing you where the bacteria like to accumulate in your mouth.

Treatment for gingivitis includes regular dental visits to remove plaque and calculus (dead hard bacteria). Once a hygienist removes the plaque and calculus, regular brushing and flossing will minimize plaque formation, although even with good oral hygiene plaque will begin to accumulate again.

Studies show a clear correlation between gum disease and heart disease, highlighting the fact that people with gum disease have a 25% greater risk of heart disease than people with healthy gums. Scientist believes that the inflammation from the gingivitis releases pro-inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream, triggering a systemic inflammatory response. In other words, inflammation in one area of the body can cause inflammation in another.

Overview – Gingivitis is a bacterial overload that has overwhelmed the immune system causing an inflammatory response causing swollen, red, painful, and bleeding gums. The only treatment is a professional dental cleaning and daily plaque removal with brushing and flossing. If not treated gingivitis will result is periodontal disease, which is bone loss around the teeth. Periodontal disease is a serious condition that can lead to tooth loss. On a good note, gingivitis is a reversible disease and does not cause permanent damage if treated in a timely fashion.

For more questions or concerns about whether you have gingivitis, please contact us or visit our website.  Smiles for Life Total Health Dentistry, office of Dr Jeffery Hartman at 814-643-9414, and our staff will be pleased to assist your needs.

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