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The term gingivitis refers to the inflammatory process that affects all of the gum tissues.

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The gums, along with the alveolar bone, the cementum, and the periodontal ligament, constitute the periodontium (from greek PARA’, around and ODOS, tooth), that is, all the various structures and tissues that surround and support the dental elements. Under healthy conditions, the gums look pinkish in colour and have the appearance of an orange peel. When the disease is present, the gums are red and tend to bleed.

What is this disease?

Gingivitis is generally considered a bacterial etiology disease.
Its main causes are, in fact, inflammations caused by localized accumulations of plaque along the gum line that surrounds the neck of the tooth.

There are some risk factors that may contribute to the onset of gingivitis or its aggravation while still in beginning stages. Among these are:

  • Pregnancy and puberty, which are characterized by hormonal changes that may cause changes in the gum tissues.
  • Smoking cigarettes and the toxic substances that they leave behind

Among these diseases that favour the onset of gingivitis, it is worth mentioning the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Leukaemia
  • AIDS
  • All general conditions that weaken the immune system
  • Stress
  • Genetic predisposition
  • A poor diet
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Various pharmaceuticals that belong to the anticonvulsants, immunosuppressants, anti-hypertensive, groups because they can cause changes in the gingiva which show up in form of gum thickening which is called hyperplasia

How to prevent gingivitis

This disease is completely reversible if you remove the causes that provoke the proliferation of bacteria that are responsible for the inflammation, followed by proper oral hygiene at least three times a day. Dental floss is effective in removing dental plaque, in addition to getting professional teeth cleaning, which is also another very important aspect.
Another important part of prevention is removing the risk factors such as cigarette smoke and having a healthier and more balanced diet, rich in vitamin C and calcium.

Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis

There exists a type of disease, called necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which has very specific symptoms:

  • Severe pain
  • Bad breath
  • Gums that bleed easily, even spontaneously

Even after healing, necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis produces permanent effects that consist of decapitation of the interdental papillae.

In these cases, proper treatment should be immediately follow in order to limit the amount of damage that this disease could potentially cause.

Excalating to periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis: the latter is an inflammation that leads to the destruction of the of the deep periodontal tissues (which includes the alveolar bone, cementum and the periodontal ligament), and creates irreversible damage.

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Gingivitis treatment Leeds


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