Gingivitis or inflammation of the gums is a very common and annoying pathology. In fact, more than half of the adult population has suffered this condition at least once.
Although most of the gingivitis are not serious, they can be complicated and give more serious pictures such as periodontitis, which can cause mobilization or even tooth loss. For this reason, it is interesting to know the early symptoms of this pathology in order to avoid complications.
What are the gums?
The gums are a fibromusic tissue that covers the surface of the maxillary and mandibular bones and the base of the teeth. It has a pale pink color and forms a supporting tissue for the denture.
The part that covers the base of the teeth is called fixed or attached gum. The gum that covers the dental alveoli (part of the maxillary and mandibular bone where the teeth are inserted) is the free gingiva. The two types of gingiva join in the spaces between the teeth, forming the interdental papillae.
Why is gingivitis occurring?
Various types of bacteria inhabit the mouth or oral cavity. They constitute what is known as bacterial plaque. When these microorganisms proliferate the gums defend themselves. This defense consists of an inflammation , appearing gingivitis.
This proliferation usually arises because of bad oral hygiene, which causes an accumulation of bacterial plaque. In gingivitis, bacteria only reach the gum, which is the most superficial part. At this point the damage is reversible.
If the bacterial plaque affects the tooth or the underlying bone, irreversible damage occurs. It is what is known as periodontitis .
In addition to poor oral hygiene, there are other factors that can contribute to the appearance of gingivitis:
- Endocrine alterations: some cases of gingivitis are associated with hormonal changes such as pregnancy, puberty or diabetes mellitus.
- Malnutrition: certain nutritional deficits can cause alterations of the gums, such as scurvy produced by lack of vitamin C.
- The taking of certain medications , such as corticosteroids .
- Infections or allergic reactions.
Symptoms of gingivitis
Inflammation of the gums may go unnoticed at first. It starts with bleeding or pain when brushing teeth, which sometimes is not associated with anything pathological.
When the picture advances, the gums turn red and their sensitivity increases. That is why activities such as eating or brushing teeth become very painful. The bleeding can become spontaneous. In some gingivitis pictures, bad breath or halitosis may also appear.
Therefore, the warning signs that should make us suspect a gingivitis are: bleeding and gum pain, redness and bad breath.
Diagnosis of gingivitis
The diagnosis of this picture is simple since it is usually visible with a simple observation of the mouth. The gums will appear red and swollen, forming arcs around the teeth. Also, if the bleeding is abundant it will also be seen.
Sometimes the bacterial plaque at the base of the teeth can also be seen. If there is mobility in the teeth or recession of the gums, it is necessary to go quickly to a specialist, since they are signs that warn of possible periodontitis.
Evolution to periodontitis
Not all gingivitis progress to periodontitis. On the other hand, there are a series of risk factors that entail a greater danger of evolution in this scenario:
- Use of certain drugs
Prevention and treatment of gingivitis
To prevent the appearance of gingivitis, minimal dental brushing twice a day is important, as it alters the structure of the bacterial plaque and prevents its proliferation.
It is also advisable to use antiseptic mouthwash and dental floss, which contribute to eliminating leftovers of food and possible accumulations of microorganisms in areas not accessible with the toothbrush.
The treatment of inflammation of the gums usually consists of a mouth cleaning. The use of antiseptic mouthwashes or interdental brushes may also be associated.