Gingivitis Is Just the Start
Gingivitis is one of those creations. While it is a real dental term that simply means gum inflammation, gingivitis has been used for decades in Listerine ads to illustrate the peril you’re in from threats such as gingivitis if you don’t buy and swish Listerine at all hours day and night.
At Kalil & Kress, we’re not big on hype. We’re big on keeping the smiles of our patients as healthy as possible. So, in this blog, let’s get into just what gingivitis is and what you need to do about it.
What is gingivitis?
That’s right, gingivitis is an ominous way to say “irritated gums.” Plaque is the main irritant of the gums. Plaque is the film that forms on the teeth throughout the day consisting of bacteria, bacterial waste products, food residue, and saliva. Plaque is an ongoing battle. When you brush and floss you remove the plaque. Then it starts to rebuild, only to be removed again when you brush. But if you neglect your oral hygiene the plaque can develop beneath the gumline, where it is very irritating to your gums. If allowed to stay there, the plaque hardens into tartar, causing more persistent irritation. While the term “irritation” sounds innocent enough, if this irritation is allowed to continue and progress, it leads to gum disease, clinically known as periodontitis.
What are signs of gingivitis?
Signs of gum irritation, gingivitis, are easy to spot. Your gums should be pink all over, like a wad of Double Bubble Gum. Any bright red patches show irritation. Your gums should also lie flat against the teeth; inflamed gums tend to recede and pull away from the teeth. Your gums will also be prone to bleeding and this shouldn’t normally happen if you’re using a soft toothbrush. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation. And finally, as in the commercials, your breath will reek. The commercials get this part right — your bad breath is caused by bacteria that is being left to its own devices by your poor oral hygiene.
Good home hygiene is the first line of defense in keeping your gums healthy. Beyond that, Dr. Kalil and Dr. Kress treat gingivitis with regular prophylactic cleaning and, if necessary, gum scaling. In gum scaling, tartar that has built up under the gumline is scraped off with dental tools.
Gingivitis is actually a good thing, sort of. It’s giving you a wakeup call to take better care of your gums and teeth, before things get really serious. If your gums are more red than pink and are bleeding easily, we should probably take a look.
Call us at (603) 880-7004 to make an appointment.