When is the last time you get a dental checkup? Was it the time that you experienced pain or discomfort in the mouth or teeth? Do you know that the recommended time to get a checkup by a dentist is every 6 months? It is best to see a dentist every 6 months despite not having dental issues. In the world of medicine, gingivitis is a common dental problem and being the common issue, people who experience it might be wondering if it is curable.
Before answering that, what exactly is gingivitis? Gingivitis is a type of gum disease. Gum disease in general occurs when the tissue surrounding the teeth is inflamed. Gingivitis is the common and mid form of gum diseases. It is estimated that 1 out of 5 people had gingivitis.
In most cases of gingivitis, it is due to dental plaque. Dental plaque is a film-like substance made up of bacteria, saliva, food debris and dead cells. These substances are continuously being deposited on teeth along the gum line. When this plaque becomes hard, it will turn into tartar. The most common cause of gingivitis is the poor oral hygiene caused by inadequate brushing or improper way of brushing the teeth. Such behaviour will cause the buildup of plaque between the gums and teeth. The plaque may also be deposited in faulty fillings and around the teeth next to poorly cleaned orthodontic appliances, partial dentures or bridges.
Symptoms of gingivitis revolve around the irritated gums caused by the plaque. Symptoms include red, swollen and bleeding gums. Gingivitis in general does not cause pain or other symptoms, making it difficult to be detected in the early stage. Gingivitis may also cause a person to have bad breath (halitosis). Apart from poor oral hygiene, certain conditions may cause a person to be susceptible to have gingivitis or make the existing gingivitis worse such as certain medications like immunosuppressant, vitamin deficiency (commonly vitamin C deficiency), metabolic disease such as diabetes and hormonal change in pregnancy.
While gingivitis may seem a harmless condition, when it is left untreated, it can lead to serious issues such as periodontitis. Periodontitis is characterised by the gums pulling away from the tooth and weakening of the tooth. It may lead to bone supporting the teeth to be lost apart from teeth loosen and fall out. Periodontitis may also be the hallmark of tooth sensitivity. Periodontitis may be incurable when it involves the bones and periodontal ligaments.
Those with gingivitis may wonder if gingivitis is curable. Gingivitis is curable when it is in its early stages. In most cases, it is reversible with professional dental treatment and good oral hygiene at home. Removing the plaque from the teeth is the main way of treating gingivitis. While plaque may be removed with brushing teeth, hard plaque such as tartar or calculus may need to be removed by a dentist using their specific tool. This is known as teeth cleaning or scaling. If scaling is not enough to keep the plaque and tartar at bay, the dentist may suggest surgery to clean the surface of the root of the tooth.
The best way to avoid gingivitis is to take oral hygiene seriously. Brushing teeth for at least twice a day with soft-bristled brush should be a standard for everyone to avoid gingivitis. Using mouthwash and dental floss can further help to mitigate the bacteria and food debris from accumulating on teeth along the gum line. Besides brushing teeth twice a day, you might want to brush your teeth after every meal. Due to the fact that gingivitis may not actually cause noticeable symptoms, it is best to get regular dental check-ups. This means that a person should not only wait to meet a dentist when they have toothache.
Apart from taking care of the teeth and gum directly, getting treatment for underlying conditions such as diabetes can reduce the likelihood of gingivitis. Avoiding tobacco not only helps to lessen the risk for gingivitis but also the many other diseases caused by smoking it. Drinking plenty of water can help to steer away bacteria and food particles from accumulating in the mouth. Avoiding sugary and fatty food is recommended.
In essence, gingivitis is a gum disease characterised by inflammation of the gum. Gingivitis is a common gum disease. It is usually caused by poor oral hygiene but certain health conditions may make a person susceptible to the disease. Gingivitis is usually suspected when there is bleeding gum, especially after brushing teeth. It is a curable and reversible condition when it is detected in an early manner. Good oral hygiene is important to prevent gingivitis from occurring. It is important to treat gingivitis as being left untreated can lead to serious issues such as periodontitis. Getting regular dental check-ups can help detect dental problems earlier and treat properly. Gum disease should not be taken lightly as it can affect a person’s health in other ways such as higher risk for heart disease.