Gingivitis – What is It?
Gingivitis is a common condition treated by dentists, and it is the earliest stage of gum disease. You will know if you have gingivitis as your gums will be inflamed and pale in colour, as opposed to the pink you would expect to see with healthy gums. Symptoms of gingivitis are usually mild, and by seeking the advice and treatment of your dentist early you can begin the fight against gingivitis and restore optimal oral health. Failing to seek treatment could lead to negative oral health outcomes such as periodontitis, tooth extraction and raised risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease. Your oral health is closely linked to your overall health, so it is important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. In this blog post, Sparkling Dental will share some reasons why gingivitis occurs and how you can minimise your risk of gum disease.
What is Gingivitis, and What Causes It?
To put it simply, gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It is a common, easily treatable condition which should not cause any permanent problems provided it is caught early. Gingivitis is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene, resulting in plaque building up around your teeth and gum line. Brushing would normally remove this plaque, but if you don’t do so frequently or thoroughly enough, some may remain and eventually turn into calculus or tartar. Once this occurs, you must visit your dentist for a professional clean and removal. If you allow your condition to progress into periodontitis, you may end up with permanent damage to the gums and bones which could potentially result in tooth loss.
Typical symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Tooth sensitivity which occurred suddenly
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums during brushing/flossing
- Clearly inflamed gums which feel tender
- Bad breath
Risk Factors for Gingivitis and Gum Disease
Poor oral hygiene is one of the most common causes of gingivitis, but some individuals are more susceptible than others due to lifestyle choices. You should always aim to brush twice per day, floss and use an alcohol free mouthwash to reduce your risks. If any of the following apply to you, you will need to pay close attention to your oral hygiene:
- Tobacco users – smoking and chewing tobacco can cause gum recession and persistent inflammation, and it also affects blood circulation. Smokers are up to 7 times more likely to suffer from gum disease.
- Diet – if your diet is rich in starchy or sugary foods, you will have more bacteria in your mouth.
- Chronic disease – diabetes, cancer and HIV all limit your body’s ability to fight gingivitis.
- Hormonal changes – sometimes puberty, menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy can cause temporary inflamed gums and increased oral sensitivity.
How to Treat Gingivitis
The best way to treat gingivitis, if not avoid it entirely, is to maintain healthy oral hygiene practices which include brushing your teeth, gums and tongue on a daily basis. You should also floss at least once per day to remove trapped food. It is also important to visit Sparkling Dental every 6 to 12 months for a check-up, so that the early signs of gum disease can be detected before they progress any further.
You may also wish to adjust your diet, which should include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and less starchy foods such as pasta and bread. If you smoke, you should reduce consumption or attempt to quit.
If your gingivitis progresses into periodontitis, you may suffer from abscess, receding gums and be facing potential tooth loss. At this stage, your dentist will need to prepare a comprehensive treatment plan.
Book an Appointment at Sparkling Dental Today
It is important to look after your oral health, and if you have noticed any issues with your gums now is the time to book a check-up at Sparkling Dental. Our team are highly skilled at identifying and treating gingivitis and gum disease. Call today on 02 9953 0088, or book via our website.