7 September 2016
Growing up, you may have experienced some kind of bleeding while brushing your teeth and you wonder what is responsible for it. The condition in most case is Gingivitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum, usually caused by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can become a more serious infection known as periodontitis. Gingivitis and periodontitis are major causes of tooth loss in adults.
Someone who has gingivitis is likely to have red and puffy gums, tender and painful to touch.
Gums may be swollen and soft and will most likely bleed while brushing the teeth and sometimes lead to bad breath.
In some people, symptoms of gingivitis may be mild and they may not even know that they have it.
What causes Gingivitis?
Gums are designed to attach to the teeth at a lower point. This forms a small space called a sulcus. Food can get trapped in this space and cause a gum infection or gingivitis.
Also, plaque is a thin film of bacteria that is constantly formed on the surface of the teeth. As plaque advances, it hardens and becomes tartar.
Tartar is the yellow pigmentation that you usually see at the base of the teeth. It is harder to remove, and can only be removed professionally by a dentist.
You can develop an infection when plaque extends below the gum line. If left unchecked, gingivitis can cause the gum to separate from the teeth.
This can cause injury to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth and you may ultimately lose your tooth or need a dentist to remove it.
Treatment of gingivitis
If diagnosed early, and treatment is prompt and proper, gingivitis can be totally cured. Treatment is in two phases, proper care by a dentist and follow-up home treatment.
To treat gingivitis, plaques and tartars are removed. This process is known as scaling. Some patients may find scaling uncomfortable, especially if tartar build-up is extensive, or the gums are very sensitive.
Follow-up home treatment
Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss your teeth at least once a day. Regularly rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. Ask your dentist to recommend one.
Author: Dotun Obatuyi
My name is Dotun Obatuyi (Dotunoba), I hail from Osun state, a public health scientist (monitoring and evaluation specialist), my keen interests are researching, critiquing and writing feature articles on health, science and technology as well as issues around the globe.