You have probably heard the word gingivitis without realizing what it means. Often toothpaste or mouthwash commercials will talk about gingivitis but won’t explain what it is, what causes it and what to do really about it.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is inflammation in your gums caused by your immune system trying to fight bacteria in your mouth. Each day, a sticky layer of plaque builds up over your teeth and gums, and it contains bacteria. Most plaque is removed through regular brushing and flossing but any that remains quickly harden into calculus or tartar. The bacteria in plaque and tartar produce toxins that irritate your gums, promoting your immune system to fight back which causes the inflammation. When tartar builds up on teeth, it makes it easier for more plaque to build up on top of the tartar, increasing the irritation to your gum tissue.
As your gums become inflamed, they begin to look red, puffy or swollen, and you might see blood on your toothbrush or in the bathroom sink after brushing or flossing. Noticing your gums have begun to bleed is often one of the very first signs of gingivitis and its essential not to ignore it. It’s never normal for gums to bleed and although it might have been caused by brushing your teeth too hard, it’s most likely a sign of gingivitis or early gum disease.
It’s Curable, but You Must Act Quickly!
The good news is that gingivitis is curable, and these early symptoms are often easily reversed. The bad news is that if you ignore gingivitis, then it’s highly likely it will progress into a severe condition called periodontitis.
Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease that can cause enormous damage to your gums and the bone holding your teeth in place. The infection and inflammation caused by periodontitis will eventually break down the bone around your teeth and the connective tissues holding your teeth in their sockets. In fact, periodontitis is a widespread cause of tooth loss. Even worse, periodontitis can affect your general health so it’s important to see a good dentist in Newcastle as quickly as you can.
Getting a Diagnosis and Treatment for Gingivitis
Initially, our dentist at West Bowmanville Family Dental will gently examine your gums to determine if you have gingivitis and to assess any damage already caused by the disease. Usually, the early signs of gingivitis are reversed by eliminating the plaque and tartar causing the infection and inflammation. You will almost certainly need an appointment with our dental hygienist in Clarington to have your teeth professionally cleaned. Once all the plaque and tartar are removed, your gums have a far better chance of healing, but your treatment doesn’t end there!
Making Sure Your Gingivitis Doesn’t Come Back
During your hygiene appointment in Courtice our hygienist can talk to you about your oral care at home and if necessary can help improve your brushing and flossing techniques or can suggest other ways to floss in between your teeth. Once you get home, make sure you brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, and you must floss once-a-day. Initially, you might notice your gums bleed a little but gradually with perseverance, they will become healthier and stronger. Within a few weeks, your gums should be in the pink of health and regular ongoing dental care will help keep them that way. With the proper preventative dental care, you need never develop gingivitis.