Gingivitis - Inflammation of the gums

Many people often ignore the early signs of gum disease, known as gingivitis, simply because they do not know what gingivitis is. 

Gum disease plagues 65% of adult Germans and has been connected to serious diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums (gingiva). It commonly occurs because of films of bacteria that accumulate on the teeth – called plaque. 

Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease. Affecting only the attached and free gingival tissue that surrounds your teeth, bacteria that invades the area below your gum line, known as the sulcus or periodontal pocket, causes gingivitis to develop and eventually manifest into periodontitis, if left untreated. 

The early warning signs of gingivitis are often mistaken as normal occurrences one should expect when it comes to the mouth. Symptoms of gingivitis include: 

  •     Gums are bright red or purple
  •     Gums are tender, and sometimes painful to the touch
  •     Gums bleed easily when brushing teeth or flossing
  •     Halitosis (bad breath)
  •     Inflammation (swollen gums)
  •     Receding gums
  •     Soft gums 

Obtaining regular dental checkups and professional dental cleaning with a following Dentcoat treatment will help keep gum disease under control or eliminated completely.

Periodontitis - one of endemic diseases

When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to “periodontitis” (which means “inflammation around the tooth”). In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces (called “pockets”) that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed. 

Risk Factors 

  • Smoking.  Need another reason to quit smoking? Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease. Additionally, smoking can lower the chances for successful treatment.
  • Hormonal changes in girls/women. These changes can make gums more sensitive and make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes are at higher risk for developing infections, including gum disease.
  • Other illnesses and their treatments. Diseases such as AIDS and its treatments can also negatively affect the health of gums, as can treatments for cancer.
  • Medications. There are hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications that can reduce the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on the mouth. Without enough saliva, the mouth is vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. And some medicines can cause abnormal overgrowth of the gum tissue; this can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean.
  • Genetic susceptibility. Some people are more prone to severe gum disease than others. 

Who gets gum disease? 

People usually don’t show signs of gum disease until they are in their 30s or 40s. Men are more likely to have gum disease than women. Although teenagers rarely develop periodontitis, they can develop gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease. Most commonly, gum disease develops when plaque is allowed to build up along and under the gum line. 

Symptoms of periodontitis are similar to gingivitis: 

  •     Bad breath
  •     Red or swollen gums
  •     Tender or bleeding gums
  •     Painful chewing
  •     Loose teeth
  •     Sensitive teeth
  •     Receding gums or longer appearing teeth 

Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem, which should be checked by a dentist.

At your dental visit the dentist or hygienist should: 

  • Ask about your medical history to identify underlying conditions or risk factors (such as smoking) that may contribute to gum disease.
  • Examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
  • Use a tiny ruler called a “probe” to check for and measure any pockets. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters. This test for pocket depth is usually painless.
  • Make an aMMP8 test and have your result in less than 10 minutes about gum disease 

How is periodontitis treated? 

The main goal of treatment is to control the infection. The number and types of treatment will vary, depending on the extent of the gum disease. Any type of treatment requires that the patient keep up good daily care at home. The doctor may also suggest changing certain behaviors, such as quitting smoking, as a way to improve treatment outcome. 

Professional dental cleaning, Scaling and Root Planning 

The dentist, periodontics, or dental hygienist removes the plaque through a deep-cleaning method called scaling and root planning. Scaling means scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line. Root planning gets rid of rough spots on the tooth root where the germs gather, and helps remove bacteria that contribute to the disease. In some cases a laser may be used to remove plaque and tartar. This procedure can result in less bleeding, swelling, and discomfort compared to traditional deep cleaning methods. After that a dentcoating treatment should be followed to maintain clean tooth surfaces for a long lasting period. 

How can I keep my teeth and gums healthy? 

  • Brush your teeth twice a day (with fluoride toothpaste).
  • Floss regularly to remove plaque from between teeth. Or use a device such as a special brush or wooden or plastic pick recommended by a dental professional.
  • Visit the dentist routinely for a check-up and professional cleaning.
  • Don’t smoke
  • Dentcoating after professional cleaning, repeat after 2 month and followed as yearly treatment 

Can gum disease cause health problems beyond the mouth? 

In some studies, researchers have observed that people with gum disease (when compared to people without gum disease) were more likely to develop heart disease or have difficulty controlling blood sugar. Other studies showed that women with gum disease were more likely than those with healthy gums to deliver preterm, low birth weight babies. But so far, it has not been determined whether gum disease is the cause of these conditions.