Gingivitis Beyond the Listerine Commercials

Gingivitis is an ad copywriter’s dream. It sounds ominous, formidable. And no one really knows what it is. So, if you say your product cures it, voila, you have sales.

Can you say Listerine?

Beyond the commercials, let’s get down to what gingivitis really is and what you need to do about it.

What is gingivitis?

GingivitisDespite its serious name, gingivitis is simply the term for gum inflammation. Plaque is the main irritant of the gums. Plaque is the film that forms on the teeth throughout the day consisting of bacteria, bacterial waste products, food residue, and saliva. Plaque is an ongoing battle. When you brush and floss you remove the plaque. Then it starts to rebuild, only to be removed again when you brush. But if you neglect your oral hygiene the plaque can develop beneath the gumline, where it is very irritating to your gums. If allowed to stay there, the plaque hardens into tartar, causing more persistent irritation. While the term “irritation” sounds innocent enough, if this irritation is allowed to continue and progress, it leads to gum disease, clinically known as periodontitis.

What are signs of gingivitis?

Signs of gum irritation, gingivitis, are easy to spot. Your gums should be pink all over. Any bright red patches show irritation. Your gums should also lie flat against the teeth; inflamed gums tend to recede and pull away from the teeth. Your gums will also be prone to bleeding and this shouldn’t normally happen if you’re using a soft toothbrush. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation. And finally, as in the commercials, your breath will reek. The commercials get this part right — your bad breath is caused by bacteria that is being left to its own devices by your poor oral hygiene.

Gingivitis treatments

Good home hygiene is the first line of defense in keeping your gums healthy. Beyond that, Dr. Miller treats gingivitis with regular prophylactic cleaning and, if necessary, gum scaling. In gum scaling, tartar that has built up under the gumline is scraped off with dental tools.

We can help you control gingivitis before it moves into periodontitis. Call us at 503-640-9310 to schedule your next checkup.

Posted in: Gingivitis

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