What is Gingivitis?

It appears as if almost every dental product from mouthwash and dental floss to toothbrushes and toothpastes uses the fact it prevents gingivitis as a selling point. While this sounds great – and it is – it doesn’t help you if you are asking yourself “what is gingivitis?”.

We will take a closer look at what gingivitis is, how you can tell if you may have it, and explore treatment options.

Gingivitis is the Start of Gum Disease

Gum disease is a general term for the inflammation and infection of the soft tissue that surrounds the teeth. Dental professionals, in an effort to provide proper care to their patients, break gum disease up into two different stages: gingivitis or the beginning stages of gum disease and periodontitis which is advanced or severe gum disease.

When gums become red or inflamed due to the buildup or presence of tartar and plaque, gingivitis may develop. Gingivitis develops because the tartar and plaque contain harmful bacteria that are working to destroy and damage your gums. Typically, plaque and tartar build-up around the teeth and gums because of poor oral hygiene. Luckily, regular brushing and flossing can often remove plaque and tartar.

Gingivitis, when left untreated, can advance into severe or chronic periodontitis. If this should happen, it could result in infections of the gums, bone loss, damage to the jaw, and loss of teeth. To prevent gingivitis from progressing into periodontitis, it is important that you visit a dentist for a routine examination in order to receive prompt treatment.

In addition to its ability to progress into periodontitis, gingivitis should be promptly treated as it has been linked to a number of health problems. Gingivitis has been linked to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancers.

Signs and Symptoms Associated with Gingivitis

It is difficult to know if you have gingivitis because some people exhibit no symptoms of this disease at all. In fact, they only know they have gingivitis after a routine examination from a dentist.

However, just because some people don’t have signs and symptoms associated with gingivitis, doesn’t mean everyone does. The following are some of the common signs and symptoms that could indicate you may be suffering from gingivitis:

  • A constant bad taste in your mouth that doesn’t seem to go away
  • Bad breath
  • Visible signs of pus that develop around your gums and teeth
  • Gums appear bright red, feel extremely tender, or are swollen
  • Teeth feel loose
  • Gums are noticeably receding or moving away from your teeth

Treatment Options for People Who Suffer from Gingivitis

Gingivitis, if caught early enough, can be treated with the combination of at-home care and professional dental treatment. The type of treatment that is recommended for you will depend on the severity of your gum disease and your previous medical and dental history.

Most cases of gingivitis can be treated with a simple professional cleaning conducted by your dentist or dental hygienist. This professional cleaning will properly remove any plaque and tartar buildup that is irritating your gums. Once removed, your gums will have time to heal and the gingivitis will be reversed.

If the gingivitis is considered severe, you may need to undergo a more complex professional cleaning known as scaling and root planing. This cleaning cleans under your gums and can help treat gingivitis that is about to progress into periodontitis.

Dentists may also recommend dental restoration to patients with gingivitis. Dental restoration, which includes fillings, crowns, or bridges, can help patients with gingivitis as it restores the teeth and makes them easier to clean.

A good professional cleaning isn’t enough to keep gingivitis away. It is important that you make it a habit to practice good oral hygiene that includes an effective at-home care plan and regular cleanings and checkups. An effective at-home oral care plan includes brushing at least twice a day – if not after every meal – and flossing at least once a day. Scheduling regular professional cleanings and checkups are also recommended.

Are you in need of help treating gingivitis? Cocoa Beach Family Dentistry can help you. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with our dentist for a routine checkup and professional cleaning. Our dentist will provide you with treatment options that will help you reverse your gingivitis.