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Gum Disease And Dental Checkups by:David Snape

About a year ago, my dentist and hygienist said that I had gingivitis

. Actually, I suspect that I've had it for over a decade. The interesting thing about gingivitis is that it doesn't make much noise as it slowly erodes your gum tissue. Sometimes, a lot of bone loss can occur before you become aware of it.

What made me pay attention was when the hygienist wanted me to sign a paper that the office would not be responsible if I lost my teeth. At first I saw this as a possible marketing ploy, since they wanted me to have a root scaling and planing procedure done. That sounded painful and expensive.

I figured that having me sign that paper was part of their attempt to move me in the direction of accepting this treatment. They wanted me to start right away. I declined. I wasn't about to approve a treatment that sounded so serious without a little investigation of my own.

What I found was disturbing. I think that a lot of people don't quite understand that bleeding gums, no matter how minute the bleeding, is a bad sign. For example, I've heard someone say that their gums only bleed if they push too hard with a toothbrush. She thinks that means she doesn't have gingivitis or gum disease.

However, you would have to push fairly hard to make healthy gum tissue bleed. Therefore, if a person has gums that bleed from brushing or flossing then there is a chance that person has gingivitis or worse, periodontal disease. A person that notices bleeding gums should check with a dentist for diagnosis and treatment.

I also discovered that a root scaling and planing was not something I wanted either. In fact, a relative of mine had the procedure done. In her opinion, it made her gums worse. The procedure involves numbing the gum tissue and scraping underneath the gum line down to the root to remove any built-up tartar or plaque.

I researched some possible alternative solutions and found something I thought might be promising. I tried it and by the next visit my gums had become healthier. They were better to the point that the hygienist and dentist said that there was no more tarter under the gum line. I no longer needed the root scaling and planing treatment.

I recently visited the dentist again and they said my gums are continuing to improve. This time there was zero bleeding during the probing part where they check for pocket depth with a metal instrument. No bleeding during a checkup is a good sign.

Gingivitis can be hazardous to your health. Infected gums can provide a pathway for bacteria to enter the blood stream. In addition, gingivitis is the major cause of tooth loss and not cavities as one might expect.

If you have or think you might have gingivitis, gum disease or any other health problem, be sure to visit your doctor or dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

About the author

David Snape is the author of: "What You Should Know About Gum Disease", available at Dave also writes about and answers question on health, fitness and wellness topics at He also writes for
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