Gingivitis

 Q: Is gingivitis something to be concerned about?

ANSWERED by DR. ERIC VALLE

Dr. Eric Valle

Dr. Eric Valle

Yes. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. It is reversible, but if neglected it can lead to periodontitis and consequently, loss of teeth. Gingivitis not only is controllable, it is preventable. The culprit is plaque, the colorless, sticky film that forms on the teeth.

The bacteria found in plaque irritates the gums. It’s estimated that more than half of all people over 18 have at least the early stage of gum disease. Most become aware that something is wrong when their gums become red, swollen or tender, and/or bleed easily. The best defense against getting gingivitis is consistent removal of plaque—brushing properly twice a day and using floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from between teeth.

Plaque buildup is persistent, and even the most faithful home care can’t remove it all. It takes professional cleaning in the dentist’s office to remove plaque at the gum line, where the gingivitis process starts. Scheduling regular checkups and cleanings provides another plus:  The dentist may detect the beginning of gingivitis even before the patient becomes aware of swelling or other symptoms. The earlier gingivitis is recognized, the easier it is to treat. Don’t wait until it hurts. We can help.

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