Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, is a common condition, but one that can be avoided. Many people think that it’s normal or not a big deal if their gums bleed when they brush their teeth, but this is actually a sign of disease and a warning about their oral hygiene.
People should only use soft-bristled toothbrushes to brush their teeth. Hard bristles can bruise their gums. However, gingivitis is caused by excessive bacterial growth in the gum pockets. In the space between the gum and the tooth root, bacteria grow naturally as part of the oral ecosystem, but their numbers can increase too much when they have large amounts of food debris available. Bacteria produce acid, which sticks to plaque and irritates the surrounding gum tissue. As plaque builds up, tartar forms at the gum line around the tooth.
Patients can reduce plaque and tartar build-up by brushing regularly, but they cannot remove material from their gum pockets. Regular deep cleanings are necessary for preventing gingivitis. Even then, some people are particularly at risk. Those groups include pregnant women, people with dry mouth or who are on blood thinner medications, and smokers.
Lis Bradley, DDS, operates at 8112 Isabella Ln, Suite 101, Brentwood, Tennessee. To schedule an appointment, visit LisBradleyDDS.com or call 615-778-0810.