6 Things You Should Know About Gingivitis
The term “gingivitis” gets bantered about in the media often enough that many people don’t take the disease seriously. We have a problem with that! We’re kidding—just a little—but we do want to gently encourage you to learn more about gingivitis, so that if you experience symptoms, you won’t ignore them.
1. What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is gum inflammation, an early stage of gum disease. Typically, it is caused by a bacterial infection.
2. What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is caused by plaque, a sticky, colorless film that forms continuously on our teeth. Plaque produces toxins that can irritate gum tissue, causing gingivitis.
3. What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?
When gingivitis is mild, there may not be any signs of it. However, the most common symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Dark pink, magenta, or red, swollen gums
- Tender gums that can be painful to the touch
- Bleeding that occurs during brushing or flossing
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Receding gums
- Soft gums
4. How Can I Prevent Gingivitis?
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent gingivitis. The first we’d recommend is that you visit your dentist every 6 months for a routine dental appointment. At your checkup, we’ll not only examine your mouth for abnormalities, but we’ll also remove plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth and slightly below the gum-line. Tartar can only be removed at the dentist’s office, which is one reason that regular dental visits are so important.
Our other recommendation is that you practice good oral hygiene. At a minimum, this means flossing daily and brushing all surfaces of your teeth gently for at least 2 minutes twice a day. For bonus points, we’d encourage you to limit the amount sticky sweets and acidic foods that you consume. We also suggest rinsing your mouth with water after eating and including more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
5. How Is Gingivitis Treated?
Gingivitis in its early stages is treated by routine dental visits and good at-home dental care. In more advanced cases, it may require a deeper cleaning called scaling and root planing, where the root surfaces are cleaned below the gumline to remove plaque or tartar. If gingivitis is severe, it can even require surgery, although we strive to use the least invasive method possible when creating your dental treatment plan.
6. What Happens If I Ignore Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is reversible. However, if left ignored, it can progress to periodontal disease, a serious disease that causes irreversible damage. Not only does periodontal disease wreak havoc on the bone and gums that support teeth, but it’s also associated with serious health conditions.
To date, links have been found between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, adverse pregnancy outcomes, pneumonia, strokes, and cancer.
Are you due for for a dental checkup? To schedule your appointment, simply click here to use our online appointment request form or call us at 614.328.9489. We are pleased to offer early morning and evening appointments for your convenience.