A lot of people have gingivitis, many of you reading this may have gingivitis or some other periodontal disease without even knowing— a pleasant thought, right? Gingivitis is very common, so common in fact, that the CDC estimates almost 50% of the adult population suffers from a form of periodontal disease.
So, gingivitis is kind of a scary word. But how serious is it? Is It dangerous? Is it Latin or something? If it is, then why do we insist on using a dead language to formulate medical terminology? It’s time to put those fears at ease and shed some light on what can seem like needlessly obfuscatory language. First, to answer your most pressing question— Gingivitis is Latin. Sort of, it comes from the Latin word gingiva, meaning gums, and the Latin/Greek suffix -itis, which indicates disease.
Okay, now that the lesson in etymology is over, let’s get to your real questions. Periodontal disease is not usually very serious and thus can go unnoticed and untreated for a long time. Gingivitis shows itself in a swelling and redness of the gums, especially around the line where your gums meet your teeth, this is where gingivitis starts to grow. So because gingivitis is common and rarely requires urgent treatment, the best way to prevent it is (you guessed it!) the regular oral hygiene regiment recommended to you by your dentist. That means proper brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis occurs when bacteria gets under your gum line and forms plaque. If the plaque is allowed to accumulate over several days, usually by not brushing thoroughly and neglecting to floss, then it forms a calculus that eats away at the enamel protecting your teeth. In this way, gingivitis can contribute to tooth decay.
The truth about gingivitis is that, despite the intimidating name, it’s not very serious and it requires no magical treatments or cures; it just takes plain-old, boring hygiene. It’s also very common, there’s a good chance half the adult population of Spanish Fork has some form of periodontal disease.