Gingivitis an inflammatory process limited to the mucosal epithelial tissue surrounding the cervical portion of the teeth and the alveolar processes. Gingivitis has been classified by clinical appearance (eg, ulcerative, hemorrhagic, necrotizing, purulent), etiology (eg, drug-induced, hormonal, nutritional, infectious, plaque-induced), and duration (acute, chronic). The most common type of gingivitis is a chronic form induced by plaque.
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form on teeth, causing inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues. Here’s how plaque can lead to gingivitis:
- Plaque forms on your teeth. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed mainly of bacteria that forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Plaque requires daily removal because it re-forms quickly.
- Plaque turns into tartar. Plaque that stays on your teeth can harden under your gumline into tartar (calculus), which collects bacteria. Tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove, creates a protective shield for bacteria and causes irritation along the gumline. You need professional dental cleaning to remove tartar.
- Gingiva become inflamed (gingivitis). The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth, causing inflammation. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. Tooth decay (dental caries) also may result. If not treated, gingivitis can advance to periodontitis and eventual tooth loss.
Pictured above is moderate chronic gingivitis. Note that the papillae are edematous and blunted. They may bleed with brushing. Note areas of edema overlying some of the root areas. Compare the image above to a healthy mouth, below.
Untreated gingivitis can progress to gum disease that spreads to underlying tissue and bone (periodontitis), a much more serious condition that can lead to tooth loss. Chronic gingiva inflammation has been thought to be associated with some systemic diseases such as respiratory disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis. Some research suggests that the bacteria responsible for periodontitis can enter your bloodstream through gum tissue, possibly affecting your heart, lungs and other parts of your body. But more studies are needed to confirm a link.
Do you notice any of the above symptoms? Contact Naperville Oral Surgery for an appointment: 630-708-OMFS (6637)
Article via Medscape.com