Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease—and if you catch it quickly enough, it’s a fairly easy condition to treat. In today’s blog post, we’ve put together a brief guide to the signs, symptoms, and treatment options available for gingivitis.
In most cases, gingivitis is caused when bacterial plaque accumulates between and around your teeth. The accumulation can lead to deteriorated gingival tissue, which can ultimately create further complications such as tooth loss. However, gingivitis can also be caused by factors such as hormonal changes, diseases like cancer and diabetes, drug use, smoking, and your family history.
Signs That You May Have Gingivitis
Patients with gingivitis often have red, puffy gums—and your teeth may bleed whenever you brush your teeth. In some cases, gingivitis can be resolved through good oral health habits. Flossing your teeth, using an antiseptic mouthwash, and brushing more frequently and for a longer time can eliminate plaque and bacteria from your mouth.
You may also notice some of the following signs:
- tender, soft, or purple gums
- inflammation of the gums
- halitosis (bad breath)
- receding gum line
- bleeding when flossing
The Symptoms You’ll Experience
People with mild cases of gingivitis often don’t realize that they have the oral disease because they experience few symptoms. Because many of the signs of gingivitis can also indicate other oral health problems, people might fail to recognize the damage that gingivitis is having on their gums and teeth. It’s important to visit your dentist for regular checkups so that he or she can assess your risk of gingivitis and other forms of periodontal disease.
Treatment Options to Improve Your Oral Health
The effects of gingivitis are easy to reverse if the patient receives an early diagnosis and prompt treatment. Most situations require treatment at home and treatment from a dental professional. First, your dentist will remove plaque and tartar buildup through a process known as scaling. He or she will also help you develop an effective oral healthcare routine in order to ward off further problems with your gums. In some cases, you may need additional dental work so that you can properly maintain your oral hygiene. Dental problems such as crooked teeth or crowns that fit poorly can make it harder for you to effectively remove tartar and plaque from between your teeth and gums.
At home, you should maintain dedicated oral health habits to keep your teeth and gums in great shape. You should always brush at least twice per day and floss at least once per day without exceptions. You may also consider using additional tools like an antiseptic mouthwash, fluoridated toothpaste, tongue scraper, and electric toothbrush to get your mouth as clean as possible. By following a consistent oral healthcare routine and visiting your dentist every six months, you can prevent gingivitis and maintain a happy, healthy smile.
image by US Army Africa