Gingivitis: Don’t Let it Catch You Unawares!
Gingivitis, or gum disease, is a common and serious inflammatory condition of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious diseases such as periodontitis and even tooth loss. Fortunately, with proper prevention and treatment, gingivitis can be prevented and reversed.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the surface of the teeth from the bacteria in the mouth. Tartar is a hardened form of plaque and can only be removed with a professional dental cleaning. The buildup of plaque and tartar can cause the gums to become irritated, inflamed, and red. This can lead to bleeding when brushing and flossing, as well as bad breath.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is caused primarily by inadequate oral hygiene. When bacteria build up on the teeth, they release toxins which irritate and inflame the gums. Poor nutrition, smoking, stress, and certain medications can also contribute to gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis.
How is Gingivitis Diagnosed?
Gingivitis is usually diagnosed by a dentist during a routine check-up. The dentist may examine your mouth for signs of inflammation and redness. They may also measure the amount of pocketing or deep space between the gums and the teeth. X-rays may be taken to look for signs of bone loss.
How is Gingivitis Treated?
The most important part of gingivitis treatment is proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antiseptic mouthwash to reduce bacteria in the mouth. In addition, your dentist may recommend a professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar buildup. If gingivitis is left untreated, it can lead to more serious forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis.
Gingivitis can be prevented by practicing good oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash. Additionally, regular visits to the dentist for professional cleanings can help to prevent gingivitis. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding smoking can also help to reduce your risk of gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a common and serious condition of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth. With proper prevention and treatment, gingivitis can be prevented and reversed. By practicing good oral hygiene habits, visiting your dentist regularly, and avoiding smoking, you can reduce your risk of gingivitis and keep your teeth and gums healthy.
For more information on Gingivitis, visit ADA.org.