You may have heard your dentist or dental hygienist talk about Gingivitis, but what is it? What causes Gingivitis and how can it be treated? Whether you've been diagnosed with Gingivitis or are just curious, this guide will inform you on all the basic, including symptoms, causes, and treatments and preventative measures. After reading this article you'll be able to tell if you are at risk for developing Gingivitis, you'll also learn how to prevent Gingivitis or how it should be treated if you've already got it.
What is Gum disease?
Gingivitis, quite simply, is a non-serious form of gum disease. It is mild, or non-serious in its early stages but can lead to more serious periodontal disease. Gingivitis has been known to cause swelling of the gums, but in many cases it is so mild that Gingivitis can be totally unperceived by you. Unfortunately, even if you don't know that you have it, Gingivitis can be causing more serious damage. The resulting inflammation and infection can destroy tissues in your mouth that support your teeth. Even very slight cases of Gingivitis have the potential to turn into damaging periodontal disease if not treated properly.
What Causes Oral Health?
There are many possible causes for Gingivitis. By and large, the most common way to contract this type of periodontal disease is to not care for your teeth and gums properly. When you don't brush and floss your teeth regularly, you are allowing plaque to build up. Plaque is the sticky stuff made up of food deposits, bacteria, mucus and more that can build up on the exposed parts of your teeth. The long-term effect of this plaque buildup is Tartar, which is a hard deposit that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. When built up tartar and plaque cause irritation and inflammation to the gums, Gingivitis can be suspected.
Other types of injury to the teeth and gums can also cause Gingivitis. Brushing your teeth too vigorously or roughly can cause Gingivitis. Also, using a toothbrush that is not soft enough can cause this problem. There are also some factors that can increase your chances of contracting Gingivitis. These include illness in general, poor dental hygiene (as aforementioned), the hormonal changes caused by pregnancy or menopause and uncontrolled diabetes.
What are the Symptoms?
Though it is common for Gingivitis to be relatively pain free, there are some symptoms that can signify this type of periodontal disease. Below is a partial list of the most common signs of early-stage Gingivitis:
- Red or swollen gums
- Pink toothbrush or gums bleeding during tooth brushing
- Persistent bad taste in the mouth
- Halitosis (bad breath)
Once Gingivitis has set in and advanced to later stages, the following symptoms may be present:
- Receding gums
- Nerve root exposure and sensitivity
- Teeth may become loose or fall out
Presence of advanced-stage Gingivitis as indicated by the above-listed symptoms may lead to or indicate periodontis.
If you suspect or know that you have Gingivitis, it is important to get the proper dental care in order to stop it from progressing. The treatments that are available for Gingivitis are several different actions that will require effort on your part. Generally, your dentist will prescribe a treatment strategy involving the following:
- Prescription of antibacterial mouthwash
- Strict oral hygiene regimen
- Proper brushing of teeth
- Daily flossing
- Regular professional dental cleanings
Though it is not common, there are some cases where highly advanced Gingivitis requires oral surgery. But it is easy to avoid this by knowing what to look out for and how to avoid it.