More than half of American adults over the age of 35 get periodontal “gum” disease.  There are 2 types of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis.  Most people who do have gum disease have the less severe form we call “gingivitis.”  Around 5-15% of people have a much more serious type of gum disease known as “periodontitis.”  Because most people have what is known as Gingivitis, let’s find out exactly what this is and some of the signs of it.

What is Gingivits?

When you brush or floss your teeth, do you ever see pink in the sink?  If so, it can be a sign that you may have gingivitis.  Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and gums.  Plaque produces bacteria that irritates the gum tissue and causes inflammation, making the tissues red in color, and can cause bleeding.  Gingivitis is often a result of poor oral hygiene.  So remember Gingivitis refers to gum inflammation.

Common Signs of Gingivitis:

• Gum tissue bleeds easily when you brush or floss.

• Red, swollen, puffy gums.

• Bad breath or odor in your mouth.

• Gum tissue may appear to look shiny and or smooth with reddened margins.

• You may notice your gum tissue receding.

• Smokers and people with diabetes are at increased risk of having this.

Gingivitis is often painless, so your gum tissue may never be sore, but still look for the signs of gingivitis because if it goes untreated it can progress to a more serious form of gum disease called Periodontitis. So this is why it is very important to visit the dentist and your hygienist twice a year for your checkups and professional cleanings because your teeth are meant to last you a lifetime.  I hope this Tooth Talk has helped to explain what “gum” disease is. Next week I will discuss Periodontitis which is a more serious form of gum disease.

If you have additional questions please feel free to call my office or email me, Dr. Jacqueline Butler Mitchell, DDS; Integrity Dental Care, PLLC; (615) 445-8700.