Do you have swollen gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss? It could be a sign that you have gingivitis.
We all know how important it is to care for your teeth, but proper oral care goes beyond just keeping your smile bright and white. If your gums are healthy, they can fight off the bacteria, but if they’re not healthy, bacteria can multiply quickly, leading to all sorts of dental trouble down the road.
Gingivitis, a type of periodontal disease, is one of the most common oral diseases. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious outcomes, so it’s crucial to see your dentist at the first sight of symptoms.
If you think you may be suffering from gum disease, the only way to get the treatment you need is by visiting your dentist. A professional dental exam and cleaning is the first step to protecting your oral health.
Keep reading this article to learn more about gingivitis, what causes it, how it’s treated, and how you can keep your smile healthy.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common and typically non-serious form of gum disease, or periodontal disease.
Healthy gums are characterized by being firm, pale pink, and tightly fitted around your teeth. If you have gingivitis, your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth, can become red, swollen and irritated.
If you have gingivitis it’s important to see your dentist right away as it can lead to more serious issues if left untreated.
How Do I Know If I Have Gingivitis?
If you have gingivitis, you may notice any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Dark red gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender or painful gums
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
When to See a Dentist
While gingivitis is not a serious disease, it is one of the first steps in developing periodontitis—a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and other health complications.
If you notice any signs and symptoms of gingivitis, book an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you see your dentist, the better chance you have of reversing damage from gingivitis and preventing it from getting worse.
What Causes Gingivitis?
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. If you do not care for your teeth and gums properly, plaque, a sticky film consisting of bacteria, can build up on your teeth and cause gingivitis.
If you don’t brush away plaque, it can harden and turn into tartar. The longer that plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gums, which will eventually lead to gingivitis.
Additional Risk Factors
While poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of gingivitis, many factors can put you at a higher risk, including:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Older age
- Dry mouth
- Poor nutrition
- Crowded or crooked teeth that are difficult to clean due to overlap
- Certain medical conditions, such as certain viral and fungal infections
- Certain drugs, such as phenytoin
- Hormonal changes
How is Gingivitis Treated?
Gingivitis is reversible, and there are many ways to treat it.
At Symmetry Dental, we use the following methods to treat gingivitis:
- Professional dental cleaning to remove plaque & tartar buildup
- Dental restoration to fix misaligned teeth that are difficult to clean properly
- Ongoing care, including regular checkups, cleanings, & at-home oral hygiene programs
If you have any questions about gingivitis treatment, please reach out to our team!
How Can Gum Disease Be Prevented?
Consistent and ongoing care is an essential step to preventing gum disease. This includes:
- Visiting your dentist regularly
- Brushing your teeth twice daily
- Flossing your teeth daily
- Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash
Additional Tips for Preventing Oral Health Issues
Taking care of your teeth and gums is important to maintain a bright, white smile and your overall health. Here are some tips for not only preventing gum disease but other health issues as well:
- Maintain a good oral hygiene routine
- Use a soft toothbrush and replace it every three to four months
- Eat a balanced diet
- Avoid sugary foods & drinks
- Consider using other dental tools such as an electric toothbrush or a Waterpik
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
We’re Here for You
If you have any questions about taking care of your smile, our team at Symmetry Dental is always here for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more about maintaining good oral hygiene or to book your next dental exam and cleaning.