There’s a lot going on in your mouth, more than you’re aware of. As the only part of the body with continuously exposed bone, the mouth is susceptible to various issues relating to the teeth and the surrounding tissues, the gums. One such issue that can affect the gums is gingivitis. Gingivitis is a common dental problem, but it’s one that’s possible to remedy and prevent.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease (a.k.a. gum disease). It occurs when the gums around the base of the teeth, known as the gingiva, become inflamed. This inflammation can manifest with redness and swelling, as well as bleeding when brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease, but if not treated, it can progress to periodontitis, a much more serious kind of gum disease, which can even result in losing teeth.
Some of the symptoms of gingivitis include bad breath, bleeding easily when brushing or flossing, swelling or puffiness of the gums, sore gums, receding gums, and gums that are dark red in color. Normal, healthy gums should be pink in color and should be hard, not puffy.
What causes gingivitis?
Gingivitis occurs when plaque forms on teeth but isn’t adequately removed by brushing or flossing. It stays on the teeth and hardens, turning into tartar. Tartar is hard to remove and collects bacteria, which irritates the gums. The gums then become inflamed, leading to gingivitis.
The main reason for plaque remaining on the teeth, turning into tartar, and causing gum inflammation is poor oral hygiene. This includes not brushing or flossing daily, as well as not getting regular dental checkups. You’re at additional risk for gingivitis if you have crooked teeth, have dry mouth, have poor nutrition, use tobacco, have a condition that decreases your immunity, have poorly fitting dental work, are elderly, or are pregnant.
How do I prevent gingivitis?
The best way to prevent gingivitis is with good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing daily. You should also get regular dental checkups—once every six months. Make sure you get yearly dental X-rays, as well.
If you’re pregnant or have a condition that makes you more susceptible to gingivitis, you should speak with your dentist, and possibly visit your dentist more often for cleanings and checkups.
Are you worried about the possibility of gingivitis or gum disease? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Mogren for a dental checkup.