Gingivitis is a relatively minor form of gum disease, but it can indicate problems that, if left untreated, can lead to serious issues. These issues can affect not only your dental health, but your overall health. If your dentist discovers gingivitis during a routine appointment, or if you see symptoms of developing gum disease, you should treat this right away to prevent long-term, serious consequences.
Causes and Effects of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is basically an inflammation in the gingival tissue, or the gums. If not promptly treated, it can develop into periodontitis, which is a more serious form of gum disease. It is caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria collects along the gumline and create inflammation or minor infection in the gum tissue. This inflammation causes the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, leaving pockets in which the tooth root can be exposed. [pullquote]Gingivitis is a relatively minor form of gum disease, but it can indicate problems that, if left untreated, can lead to serious issues.[/pullquote]
Gingivitis or more advanced gum disease can lead to increased sensitivity in the teeth as the roots are exposed. It can also lead to damage to the roots. Eventually, untreated gum disease leads to erosion of the teeth and eventual tooth loss.
In addition to affecting the teeth, gingivitis can cause bacteria to spread throughout your body. People with gum disease have been found to have a higher likelihood of developing cardiovascular inflammation than those with healthy gums.
Symptoms and Treatment of Gum Disease
Aside from the growth of pockets along your gumline, which are usually detected by your dentist during a routine appointment, gum disease can present other symptoms. These can include:
- Bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth
- A red, shiny look to your gums
- Tooth sensitivity along the gumline
- Swelling in the gums
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should bring them to your dentist’s attention so he can recommend treatment. Treatment can be as simple as an application of baking soda to the gums or treatment with an antibiotic, or, with more severe gum disease, can require gum surgery and/or gum grafts.
For more information about gingivitis, contact our caring dental team at Nicholas Kemp Dentistry today.