What is Gingivitis?

You probably hear that word quite a bit on all the dental product commercials. You really will not be familiar with it unless you or someone you know has had a problem with gingivitis in the past. Your mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. It is warm, moist, and gets fed regularly. You have hundreds of different bacteria in your mouth at any given time. Before you freak out, know that most of these are beneficial bacteria that help you break down your food, and protect your teeth and gums from the bad bacteria. The bad bacteria form masses, at first look it is a clear biofilm, but as it progresses it is known as plaque. Plaque is a large mass of biofilm and is a pale-yellow color. Have you noticed anyone with yellowing teeth? Have you noticed your teeth yellow a bit when you do not brush as regularly as you should? This happens because the bacteria are left to grow and colonize in your mouth. That is why teeth must be brushed, flossed, and rinsed with mouthwash every day. Doing this kills the bacteria, and gives the other bad bacteria a volatile environment to live in. When the plaque is left to grow, it will move into the gums, between the teeth. This causes inflammation of the gums. That inflammation and infection is called gingivitis. 
 
OK Doc, How Bad Is It?
 
Luckily, gingivitis is nothing that cannot be reversed. You will notice definite swelling along the gum line when you eat when your mouth has reached this stage. Your teeth and gums will be sensitive, and it will feel as if pressure is being put on them always. When you brush your teeth, your gums will bleed, some more significantly than others. It is a common myth that gums just bleed sometimes. This myth is falsified by the fact that healthy gums do not bleed at all. If you are concerned with gingivitis, look inside your mouth, your gums will tell you everything you need to know. You will notice the gums are reddened and noticeably swollen. You will see it more prominently in the root areas under the teeth, just below the gum line. If you put your finger to your gums, apply a bit of pressure, it will be quite painful. If you have any of these symptoms, make the closest appointment you can with your dentist, so that they can fix the damage before it gets worse. 
 
Is That as Bad as It Gets?
 
Unfortunately, no, it is not. gingivitis is a precursor to more serious problems such as periodontal disease, which causes tooth loss, serious decay, and plenty of pain. Gingivitis is the last step in the oral decay process in which it can be reversed. Once it progresses, your problems will need to be fixed through surgery and other means. 
 
When you brush, do a self-exam of the inside of your mouth. Make sure you know where the problems are, what the problems are, and what you need to talk to your dentist in Tustin, CA about. 
 
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