What Is Gingivitis?


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Steve Theunissen Profile
Gum trouble starts with inflammation of the gums. Dentists call this gingivitis. They speak of our gums, the pink tissue below and between our teeth, as gingiva. The inflammation shows up as bleeding gums upon brushing the teeth or even eating some food that requires more vigorous chewing such as a fresh apple. It can also be just a reddening of the margin of the gum tissue nearest the tooth. It is generally painless, and the gums begin to lose their normal firmness and tautness. The trouble can begin early; in fact, one study showed that 85 percent of children between the ages of eleven and eighteen have gingivitis.

Dental investigators say that the causes of bleeding gums are many. But generally the basic cause is lack of good oral hygiene habits. Often there is a packing of food between the teeth. Although a deficiency of vitamin C can cause bleeding gums, the commonest cause of all is improper brushing of the teeth and gums.
When gingivitis or bleeding, inflamed gums are not treated, the disease progresses slowly to the next stage. This is periodontal disease or more commonly called pyorrhea. If the progress of pyorrhea is not halted, extraction of the teeth may be necessary.

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