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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
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Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
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Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


Don’t Irritate Your Gums

Don’t Irritate Your Gums

Gingivitis Mount Pleasant, MIGingivitis.

If you were on Jeopardy and that was the “answer” that came up, would you know the answer? Remember, your answer must come in the form of a question.

“Uh, what is a fungus that grows on golf course greens, Alex?”

Bzzzzzzzzt. Hopefully you didn’t wager everything!

Yes, while most of us have heard the word gingivitis — mainly thanks to Listerine’s large advertising budget — few know what this scary-sounding word actually means.

Ready? Irritated gums. Doesn’t quite fit the word, does it?

Since Dr. Egger deals with the aftermath of gingivitis, gum disease, here’s some information on how your gums become irritated and why it matters for your oral health.

Gingivitis, beyond its scary name

While its name does sound ominous, the term gingivitis simply means gum inflammation. And, like pesky mosquitoes to your summertime camping in the U.P., 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.

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 build and move 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. And this is where things get dicey. Because 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 while periodontitis may not sound as ominous as gingivitis, it is far worse.

What are signs of gingivitis?

How do you know that your gums are not happy with you? Irritation is easy to spot. Your gums should be pink all over, like a wad of bubble gum in the Tigers’ dugout. 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

There are various ways Dr. Egger can deal with your gum problems. First are your twice-yearly professional cleanings. The reason for the six-month interval is because that’s about the time it takes for tartar to build up and think about moving under your gumline. Procedures such as root scaling and planing are next, but you don’t want those if you can avoid them.

Is it time for your next exam and cleaning so we can be vigilant about your gum health? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.