You know from dental visits and toothpaste commercials that gingivitis is something you want to avoid. But what do you really know about gingivitis? What causes it and how can you prevent it? We have all the answers for you here.
An Overview of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gum line near your teeth. It’s a mild form of gum disease or periodontitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include red or swollen gums that may bleed while brushing or flossing, bad breath, and receding gums. Gingivitis in common but can cause deeper problems if not treated, and can eventually lead to periodontitis and tooth loss.
Gingivitis is most often caused by poor dental hygiene, but the risks increase for the elderly, people with dry mouth, and those with lowered immune response. Hormonal changes like pregnancy and certain contraceptive methods can also increase risk. Gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up around the gum line, causing the tissue to become inflamed. Plaque forms when bacteria feed off of food (especially sugar) left in the mouth. This leads to tartar (the hardening of plaque) on teeth, cavities, and bad breath.
In order to prevent gingivitis, you must take good care of your teeth. Brush two times a day for 2 minutes each time. Floss daily, especially after meals. Reduce sugar intake. Oral bacteria feed on sugar in the mouth. Maintain dental appointments for cleaning. At your dental appointment, we’ll scrape off tartar and plaque that brushing can’t remove.
If we see gingivitis at your next visit, we’ll let you know. Please let us know if you notice any of the signs or symptoms. We will help guide you toward a treatment plan that is right for you. This may include a deep clean of your teeth, or simply better maintenance of tooth care at home. We also recommend you consider purchasing a gingivitis-fighting mouthwash in addition to your daily brushing and flossing. Look for the active ingredients cetylpyridinium chloride and chlorhexidine.
If you suspect you may have gingivitis, contact us today. We’ll talk you through ways to improve the condition of the gums and may want to schedule an appointment. You don’t want your condition to worsen, so please let us know if you have concerns!