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Gingivitis -- an inflammation of the gums -- is the mildest form of periodontal (gum) disease and the easiest to treat. The leading cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, which leads to plaque buildup. Plaque is the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth and gums. When plaque isn't removed with daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that can irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis and eventually advancing to the most severe form of gum disease when left untreated. Other factors may contribute to gingivitis as well, including smoking, aging, diabetes, nutrition and pregnancy.
The signs and symptoms of gingivitis are often subtle, and many people have gingivitis without even knowing it. It's important to notify Dr. Hamon when you notice the slightest changes in the condition of your gums, including:
With professional treatment from your dentist and an improvement in your oral hygiene, gingivitis can easily be reversed since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected. Left untreated, however, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis, a serious infection that destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. As the disease progresses, gums begin to recede and the teeth shift and become loose. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Luckily, keeping gums healthy and avoiding gum disease is easy with good oral hygiene and regular checkups with your dentist. You can promote healthy gums and stop gingivitis before it develops by:
Gingivitis is a serious condition that can lead to severe forms of gum disease when left untreated. Fortunately, with a dedicated dental health plan and regular visits to Dr. Hamon, gingivitis is easy to detect and easy to reverse before it has a chance to advance to periodontitis.