Definition of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a fairly common condition and is characterized by the inflammation of the gum tissues, also known as the gingivae. The thing about this condition is that it is painless, so how does a patient know that they suffer from this condition? Other obvious symptoms of the condition include swollen gums, bleeding gums especially when brushing teeth as well as accumulation of fluid in different parts of the gingivae. This type of infection is caused by different types of microbes that cause an infection. If this is not addressed in good time, it constitutes the first stage of periodontal disease. It is, however, reversible so patients need not shy away from treatment.
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What are the symptoms of Gingivitis?
- The inflammation of this disease as it progresses is painless, but this does not mean that it does not cause damage to the oral cavity.
- Bleeding of the gums even with simple activities such as brushing and flossing.
- Gums that have a distinct red coloration.
- Halitosis, which is the production of odor from the mouth.
- The presence of plaque on the teeth.
There are two forms of Gingivitis: acute infection of the gingivae as well as chronic infection of the gingivae which results from the spread of the acute form of the condition.
What is the cause of infection of the gingivae?
- Accumulation of bacterial plaque on the teeth enamel, between the teeth as well as between the teeth and the gums. The bacteria accumulated results in inflammation which is one of the symptoms listed above. There are two species that will usually cause this plaque, and they are Porphyromonas gingivalis and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans.
- If this plaque formed on the teeth enamel is not eliminated it creates a layer known as tartar. This tartar causes the bacteria to get trapped and this is what leads to Gingivitis. The bacteria produce toxins that trigger an immune response, thereby leading to a sharp increase in the synthesis of an enzyme known as collagenase. If left untreated, it loosens connective tissue which creates loose teeth.
- Tobacco smoking has been shown to cause inflammation of the gingivae.
- When a patient is fitted with faulty prosthetic devices, there is the likelihood that this could provide a window for inflammation of the gingivae.
- Localized trauma commonly achieved by using the wrong toothbrush, especially those that have very stiff bristles.
- Deficiency of vitamin C has also been shown to contribute to the likelihood of developing this infection.
- Other rare causes include adverse reactions to specific types of medication, blood disorders as well as fluctuation of hormonal levels.
- In line with the causes of gingivitis, there are a number of risk factors that individuals should watch out for. Poor oral hygiene ranks top in this as it creates a perfect environment for the proliferation of the responsible bacteria.
Some studies have also indicated that obesity could be linked to the development of infections in the oral cavity. It is best to maintain a healthy lifestyle if one should be able to fight off infections of the oral cavity.