Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that occurs when periodontal (gum) tissue becomes inflamed and irritated. When treated in its early stages, gingivitis is reversible and curable. Without treatment, however, this condition can progress to periodontitis—severe gum disease that is very aggressive. Our periodontists offer treatment for all stages of periodontal disease.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
Discoloration of gum tissue is one indicator of periodontal disease. Healthy gums should appear light pink in color. Gums that are red, puffy, and swollen are normally irritated or infected. Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing are another common symptom of gingivitis and even advanced periodontal disease. Other symptoms include tender and receding gum tissue.
Causes of Gingivitis
The chief cause behind gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Patients who forego flossing and/or do not brush thoroughly are at a high risk for developing gum disease. This is because oral hygiene helps keep plaque at bay. Plaque is a semi-translucent substance full of bacteria. It forms when bacteria feed on food particles that contain sugar or starches. When plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, it will harden into tartar in a short time. Tartar can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Both plaque and tartar irritate the gums, which can lead to infection.
In addition to improper oral hygiene practices, other factors contribute to the development of gingivitis. Medications such as anti-depressants and anti-histamines (which can dry the mouth) may irritate the gums. Hormonal imbalances and hormonal fluctuations also affect gums. Lastly, patients who use tobacco are also at risk for developing gingivitis.
Treatment for periodontal disease depends on the severity of a patient’s condition. Some patients benefit from one to two deep periodontal cleanings along with proper homecare. Other patients may require minor oral surgery and prescription medication or rinses to control the infection and spread of periodontal disease.
To schedule an appointment with our skilled and dedicated team, call 781-935-8810 today.