Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease also called (periodontal disease) which causes irritation, swelling, (inflammation) of your gums and redness. Since gingivitis can be a mild condition, you may not notice that you have it. But it is essential that you take gingivitis seriously and treat it quickly. It can lead to much more severe gum disease (periodontitis) and ultimate cause you to loss your teeth.
The most common cause of gingivitis is through poor oral hygiene. Good oral cleaning and health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day and getting regular dental checkups, can help prevent gingivitis.
Healthy gums are pale and a firm pink. If your gums are puffy, or dusky red and bleed easily, you may have gingivitis. Because gingivitis is rarely painful, you can have it without knowing.
Sign and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Swollen gums,
- Bad breath
- Soft, puffy gums
- Change the color of the gums from a healthy pink to a dusky red
- Receding gums
- Occasionally, tender gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss, sometimes you see redness or pinkness when you brush your teeth or floss.
Most dentist will recommend regular checkups to identify gingivitis, cavities (caries) and other dental conditions before they cause troubling symptoms and lead to more serious problems. If you notice any signs and symptoms of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you seek treatment, the more chance you will have in reversing the damage caused by gingivitis as well as preventing the progress of periodontitis.
Causes of Gingivitis
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages the buildup of plaque to form. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film composed primarily of bacteria. Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria normally found in the mouth. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily will remove plaque. Plaque requires regular removal because it re-forms quickly, normally within 24 hours.
Plaque stays on your teeth longer than two or three days can harden under your gumline and to tartar (calculus) tar can develop resulting from the mineral content in your saliva. Tarter makes plaque harder to remove and create a protective layer for bacteria. You usually can not get rid of tartar by brushing and flossing; you will need a professional dental cleaning to remove it.
The longer the plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingivitis, the part of you gum around the base of the teeth. Over time the gums will become swollen and bleed easily. Untreated gingivitis can result in tooth decay.
Gingivitis is very common, and anyone is in danger of developing it. Many people fist experience gum problems during puberty and then varying degree throughout their lives.
The following factors can increase your risk of developing Gingivitis:
- Poor oral cleaning habits
- Tobacco Use
- Fry Mouth
- Certain Medications
- Substance Abuse
- Older age
- Ill-fitting Dental restorations
- Poor Nutrition
- Decreased immunity from conditions such as HIV/Aids, leukemia or other conditions
- Hormonal changes, such as menstrual cycle, birth control pills or pregnancy
- Poor oral health habits
- Certain viral and fungal infections
Complications from Gingivitis
Untreated gingivitis can progress to gum disease that spread to the bone and tissue (periodontitis) which is a much more severe condition that leads to tooth loss.
Peritonitis and poor oral health, in general, can affect your overall health. It is not entirely sure, as researchers have not established whether the periodontal disease can cause other conditions. However, having periodontitis may be associated with strokes, heart attacks, lung disease and premature birth, or having a child with low birth weight in pregnant women.
Test and Diagnosis
The dentist will normally be able to diagnose gingivitis based on symptoms and the examination of your gum, teeth mouth, and tongue. Your dentist will look for plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and check the gums for puffiness, easy bleeding, and redness. In cases where it is not clear what has caused your gingivitis, your dentist may recommend that you have a medical exam so you can get checked for underlying health conditions.
Gingivitis Treatments and Medication
Early treatment can usually reverse symptoms of gingivitis and prevent the progression to more severe gum disease and tooth loss. Getting professional care is required to ensure that you are adequately taking care of your gums.
Professional gingivitis care will include:
An initial exam and though dental cleaning to remove any trace of plaque and tarter
Instructions on effective home brushing and flossing techniques
Regular professional checkups and cleaning
Possible fixes to crowns or fillings to restore the tooth health, which prevents you from keeping good oral hygiene.
Your first professional cleaning will include the use of dental instruments to remove plaque and tarter, through a procedure called scaling. Scaling may be uncomfortable, particularly if you already have sensitive gums or if you have extensive plaque and tartar buildup.
It is possible that you may have misaligned teeth or poorly fitted crowns, bridges or other dental restorations that may irritate the gums and make it difficult to remove plaque during regularly brushing and flossing. IF these problems contribute to your gingivitis, the dentist may recommend fixing these issues.
Gingivitis usually will clear up after a through professional cleaning, and as long as you continue goof oral hygiene at home and have a regularly brushing and flossing program at home, you should be able to keep the risk of gingivitis low.
The Best way to prevent gingivitis is through good dental hygiene, you should begin early in life, A complete cleaning with a toothbrush and floss should take about three to five minutes. Flossing before your brush allows you clean away the lessened food particles and bacteria. You should see your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for professional cleaning, usually every six to 12 months. If you have increase factors that may increase the risk of developing gingivitis, you may need to see professional dental cleanings more often.
- You can use a soft toothbrush and replace it every three to four months. You may consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more efficient at removing plaque and tarter.
- Brush your teeth twice a day or after every meal or snack.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Use antiseptic mouthwash.
- Use an interdental cleaning, such as a dental pick or dental stick that are design to clean between your teeth. If you are consistent with your home hygiene, you should see the return of pink healthy gum tissue within days or weeks. You need to practice good hygiene throughout your life so that your gum problems do not return.