Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Gingivitis — It’s Not Just for Redheads

By: | Monday, February 15th, 2016 | Gum Disease

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Gingivitis. Thanks to the omnipresent Listerine commercials everyone has heard the word. But most people don’t have a clue what it really entails. And it’s important to your future dental health. Here’s the lowdown on gingivitis from the team at Dr. Price’s.

What is gingivitis?

Its name sound ominous, but gingivitis is nothing more than gum inflammation. The main irritant? Plaque. Plaque is the film that forms on the teeth throughout the day consisting of bacteria, bacterial waste products, food residue, and saliva. 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. And you don’t want that.

What are signs of gingivitis?

gum diseaseGum irritation, gingivitis, is 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

To keep your gums healthy and keep gingivitis at bay, it all starts with good home hygiene. Beyond that, these are treatments for gingivitis:

Twice-yearly cleanings with Dr. Price are the first step. Why twice a year? That generally is the time it takes to start forming tartar and other issues that lead to decay. During these cleanings and checkups, not only will those problem areas receive a thorough cleaning, but we will also point them out to you for more attentive care at home.

If you have a fair amount of tartar built up under your gumline, it may require dental scaling.

Root planing removes any tiny grooves or pits from the tooth roots to make it easier for the gums to adhere and stop receding. This is done in multiple appointments with local anesthesia.

See, now you’re a gingivitis expert, regardless of what Listerine told you! Have other questions? Call us at 703-750-9404.



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