Gingivitis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, a very common and early form of periodontal disease. It causes infection and inflammation of the gum and teeth tissue, the periodontal ligaments that

woman brushing her teeth

connect your teeth to the bone and the tooth sockets.

When there is a long-standing build up of plaque on your teeth, that’s when gingivitis can creep in. This is why brushing and flossing daily is a key component to the prevention and treatment of gingivitis. If plaque is not removed from the teeth, it turns into tartar, or calculus, which gets trapped at the base of your teeth and can cause tender, infected, and swollen gums. Left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontitis and cause receding gums.

Brushing and flossing twice daily will help to prevent plaque buildup. If plaque is left too long on your teeth, it can form a hard outer shield, which locks in bacteria and can be very difficult to penetrate. If the plaque hardens, it can only be removed by your dentist. This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to get a professional teeth cleaning every six months!

What are factors that can increase my risk for Gingivitis?

Health Factors:

  • Genetics
  • Diabetes
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Smoking
  • Substance Abuse
  • Age
  • Gender- woman are more likely to suffer from gingivitis due to their hormonal changes
  • Certain medications

Symptoms

  • Swollen and tender gums
  • Shiny gums
  • Bleeding gums- especially while brushing and flossing
  • Mouth sores
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath

If you are currently or have recently experienced any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your Periodontist as soon as possible and make sure to keep up with your routine dental cleanings. Practicing proper dental hygiene is a great way to treat and prevent gingivitis from occurring in the first place as well as preventing it from progressing any further. Brushing and flossing twice daily is the biggest step you can take towards a healthier, happier smile!

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