June 23, 2020
Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness, and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
What Causes Gingivitis?
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene which leads to the buildup of plaque. Plaque is an extremely sticky, colorless to a pale yellow deposit of bacteria that regularly builds up on your teeth if not brushed regularly. The bacteria produce acids that attack your tooth enamel and can damage the gums. This damage has the possibility of becoming permanent if left untreated. Other causes of gingivitis include hormonal changes, illnesses, smoking, taking certain medications, bad brushing habits, and genetics. Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups, can help prevent and reverse gingivitis.
What are the symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis?
Many people aren’t aware that they have gum disease. It’s possible to have gum disease without any symptoms. However, the following can be symptoms of gum disease:
1. Gums that are red, tender, or swollen.
2. Gums that bleed when you brush or floss your teeth.
3. Gums that have pulled away from the teeth.
4. Loose teeth.
5. A change in how your teeth fit together when you bite (malocclusion).
6. Pus between teeth and gums.
7. Pain when chewing.
8. Sensitive teeth.
9. Partial dentures that no longer fit.
10. Foul-smelling breath that doesn’t go away after you brush your teeth.
Gingivitis Treatment and Prevention
Here are some steps and tips for how to help treat and prevent gingivitis:
1. Brush twice a day with an electric toothbrush to help remove the bacterial plaque from your teeth.
2. Be sure to use an anti-gingivitis or anti-plaque toothpaste containing fluoride to strengthen teeth and prevent the damage that bacteria in plaque causes as it builds up on teeth throughout the day.
3. After brushing, rinse thoroughly with an antibacterial mouthwash to help fight plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath and get those hard-to-reach places that plaque bacteria can hide in.
4. Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque between teeth.
5. Please note that your gums may continue to bleed for a period of time; however, it is important to keep brushing and flossing.
6. Removing plaque is essential to improving gum health.
7. Don’t forget to visit your dental professional regularly for a checkup and to discuss any concerns or questions you may have.