Gingivitis or gingivostomatosis is a common condition affecting the mouth. It is caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. The disease affects the mucous membranes of your mouth and throat. When it infects these tissues, it causes inflammation and pain. It may cause redness, swelling and tenderness of the lips, tongue or throat. Gingivitis can affect any age group but most commonly occurs in children between 1 year old and 5 years old. It is usually not life threatening but may lead to permanent damage if left untreated.
The best way to prevent this condition from occurring is to avoid sharing cups, eating utensils, drinking glasses and other items with young children. If you do share such things, wash them thoroughly after each use.
Anyone that has a cold, the flu or another illness should not share these items with other people.
If you have an infant, you should regularly clean and rinse their pacifiers after each use. You should do this even if the pacifier is plastic or rubber, since these materials can be softened by saliva and become easily contaminated.
You should not dip the pacifier in mouth wash, alcohol or any other liquid since this can lead to more serious problems.
The condition typically occurs in children between the ages of 4 and 8. It is caused when harmful bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans builds up on the teeth and gums.
Research has shown that anaerobic bacteria can cause the most damage to tooth enamel and the gums. This bacteria can produce toxic waste products that erode tooth enamel and irritate the gums.
The gums then become more susceptible to bacterial infection which then leads to inflammation. When this occurs, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. This allows more bacteria to enter and infect the space between the gums and teeth.
The condition can also be caused by other types of harmful bacteria such as Lactobacillus, Actinomyces or Acidomylus. These types of bacteria are normal inhabitants of your mouth but can cause problems if their numbers become too high.
These types of bacteria cannot produce acid themselves but work with other types of bacteria to break down sugars in the mouth into acids.
Some people are more susceptible to gingivitis than others. It is not uncommon for infants and young children to suffer from this condition due to their teeth coming in or having milk teeth.
Children that have had a recent dental surgery, infection or trauma to the mouth may also experience gingivitis.
Gingivitis can be prevented by having regular check-ups and professional cleanings. At your check-ups, your dentist or hygienist will look for any signs of gingivitis.
They will also advise you on how to care for your teeth and gums in the best way possible. This may involve using special toothpastes, mouth washes or dietary changes.
Although gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, it is still important to get treatment as soon as possible. If you do not receive treatment, the condition may develop into a more serious form of periodontal disease.
If left untreated, the bacteria may spread deeper into the gums and even into the bones that support the teeth. The toxins produced by these bacteria can also enter the blood stream and have a toxic effect on other parts of the body.
Treatment for gingivitis may include dental scaling which is the process of removing plaque and tartar from the teeth. In severe cases, where there is a lot of infection or damage, you may require a root canal treatment to save the tooth.
In some cases, your dentist may recommend surgery to remove all or part of your tooth.
As soon as you receive treatment for gingivitis, you will be required to look after your teeth and gums in the best way possible. This may involve daily at-home care, regular check-ups and professional cleanings.
Keeping general health is also important as it can affect your gums and teeth too. Remember that gingivitis is not always noticeable to the naked eye so it is important to have regular check-ups even if you do not have any symptoms.
In conclusion, gingivitis is the early stage of periodontal disease which affects the gums and teeth. It is the result of plaque and tartar building up on the teeth.
Although it does not always produce symptoms, it can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated. Treatment can be carried out by a dental professional to remove tartar and polish the tooth to make it smooth again. At home care is also required to help maintain gum health.
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