Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, characterized by swollen and inflamed gums that bleed easily. The most frequent cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, which causes plaque build-up. Plaque is a sticky substance made of bacteria, food particles, dead cells, and other debris that accumulates on teeth. Bacteria found in the plaque is what causes inflammation in the teeth tissue. The inflammation then causes the gums to swell and even bleed.
Gingivitis can result from foreign bodies, fungal or viral infection. Whatever the cause of gingivitis, it can always progress to serious gum disease if not taken care of sooner. Also, this disease can affect anyone, depending on their lifestyle choices. Although it can occur due to genetics, hormonal changes, and old age, other factors can trigger gingivitis, including smoking, drug use, and poor nutrition. Here are more details about the signs and how to prevent and treat gingivitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
Gingivitis affects a majority of adults at some point in their lives. However, many individuals don’t know they have gingivitis because it doesn’t always cause pain. That’s why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of gingivitis and seek treatment soon. This way, someone with this disease can prevent it from developing.
The first sign that one may have gingivitis is bad breath. When plaque build-ups around the teeth, bacteria causes bad breath or halitosis. This is because the bacteria in the mouth breaks down the starches and sugars in food residues, producing gasses that cause bad breath.
Another sign is bleeding gums. This mostly happens when one is flossing or brushing their teeth. Bleeding gums occurs because of the plaque build-up on the gum line. Other signs of gingivitis include:
- Receding gums
- Tender and soft gums
- Gum discoloration and inflammation
- Loose teeth
- Deep pockets between the gum and teeth.
How to Prevent Gingivitis
People often don't know what to do if they have gingivitis. They may not even realize that they have it until the condition has progressed. Even though gingivitis is not serious, it can be painful and uncomfortable. This is why preventing gingivitis is important to avoid some of the severe effects. Here are some tips that will help prevent gingivitis.
- Brush and Floss the Teeth Daily - Brushing at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing after every meal will help prevent this oral disease. Flossing helps eliminate small food particles that may be stuck between the teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and floss gently to avoid injuring the gums.
- Rinse the Mouth After Meals - Rinsing the mouth after meals helps in getting rid of food particles and acidic bacteria that may cause gingivitis. Use plain water when rinsing the mouth.
- Go for Regular Dental Check-ups - Lastly, go to the dentist at least once or twice yearly for a general dental check-up. This is especially vital as people get older to prevent gum disease. A dentist will examine the gums and teeth for signs of gingivitis.
If one is diagnosed with gingivitis, they should seek treatment early to prevent the disease from progressing to other serious stages. Early treatment always reverses the symptoms and signs of gingivitis. Here are the most common forms of gingivitis treatment.
- Dental Cleaning - As mentioned earlier, gingivitis is usually caused by bacteria found in plaque. Going to the dentist for professional cleaning will eliminate the bacteria causing gingivitis. The dentist will perform the scaling procedure, which is the removal of plaque and tartar build-up. They will also do root planning to discourage the accumulation of bacteria and promote healing.
- Proper Dental Restoration - If gingivitis is caused by foreign bodies, such as veneers, crowns, and dentures, the dentist will fix the problem to prevent irritation of the gums.
- Ongoing Care - Gingivitis always goes away with ongoing care. This means one must continue with treatment even when at home. The dentist will recommend a few tips to help and schedule follow-ups to ensure the gums are improving.
As people grow, it’s important not to wait until one develops gingivitis. Going to the dentist should be done regularly as it will help prevent gum problems. The dentist will clean and examine the teeth and gums to ensure there are no dental issues. Also, remember to follow the above prevention measures, so the disease doesn’t progress to the underlying tissue and bone.
The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.