teeth and lipsGingivitis is the inflammation of the gums by bacterial plaques in the surface of the tooth, which when left untreated may lead to the severe form called periodontitis.

Gingivitis can be prevented through regular oral hygiene such as tooth brushing two to three times per day using toothpaste. Flossing also reduces the incidence of gingivitis, and when combined with tooth brushing, it has greater cleaning action in the gums and teeth which prevent bacterial accumulation that may lead to gingivitis. Use of commercial mouth wash protects the mouth from bacterial accumulation in the tooth. Several ingredients in commercial grade such as hydrogen peroxide, saline, alcohol and chlorhexidine have been noted to reduce incidence of gingivitis. Triclosan has also been noted to reduce bacterial populations linked to bacterial plaques.

Dental interventions such as tooth cleaning, periodontal scaling and root planing have been used in the past to stop gingivitis. Such interventions are done by dentists, and may require special equipment. These interventions usually include physical removal of plaques and specialized cleaning of the tooth and the gums. However, these may cost more due to complex and requires additional man power and in fact are already considered as treatment. Calcium intake has also been noted to decrease tooth loss in gingivitis. In a study in United States, people who take less than the recommended amount of calcium which is about 1000 milligrams of calcium are more likely to have the gum disease due to weaker tooth structure caused by decreased calcium intake.

When the disease has already active, prevention does less; hence treatment is the primary concern. Treatment of gingivitis usually requires the physical removal of the plaque and the bacterial growth. Examples of treatment are root scaling, root planning, and curettage. Interdental brushing can also treat gingivitis. Another treatment for gingivitis is the intake of oral non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and diclofenac.

NSAIDs stops or lessens the inflammation brought upon by the body’s immune system. Lessening of the inflammation usually stops the signs and symptoms of the disease. When the inflammation is lessened, there is less stretching of the gums and hence less progression of the bacteria to the deeper part of the tooth. However, continuous use of NSAIDs may cause various side-effects such as heart attack and stroke, greater chance of bleeding from the inside, gastric ulcers, blood diseases and can damage the kidneys. New NSAIDS have been developed to lessen the side effects and increase the anti-inflammatory action.

Visit your Dentist in Murrells Inlet to take better care of your teeth.

photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti via photopin cc

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