Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Gum disease is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. It is caused by a bacterial infection that affects the gums, or it may occur because of plaque buildup on your teeth. Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, causes bleeding from the gums and may lead to more serious periodontal problems such as loose teeth, bone loss, and even heart disease if left untreated.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common mild form of periodontal disease (gum disease). This condition occurs when bacteria infect the tissues around your teeth and begin to destroy them. This leads to gingival inflammation, which results in redness, swelling, and tenderness. If you have gingivitis, you will likely experience symptoms like bad breath, swollen gums, and bleeding during brushing and flossing.
How Does Gingivitis Differ from Periodontitis?
Gingivitis and periodontitis are both forms of gum disease, but they differ in their severity. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that affects the gums and can be reversed with proper oral hygiene. Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease that affects the tissues and bones that support the teeth.
Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that may bleed when brushing or flossing. Periodontitis can cause the gums to recede and form pockets around the teeth. These pockets can become infected and lead to bone loss if left untreated.
Treatment for both gingivitis and periodontitis includes professional dental cleanings, deep cleanings, antibiotics, and improved oral hygiene. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage caused by gum disease.
Causes of Gingivitis
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Poor oral health care habits include not cleaning between your teeth properly, using an improper toothbrush, not flossing frequently enough, using tobacco products, eating foods with high sugar content, and having an unhealthy diet.
Other risk factors that contribute to gingivitis are genetics, age, medical conditions such as diabetes, pregnancy, stress, hormonal changes, and certain medications.
Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
Many people do not realize they have gingivitis until their gums bleed or swell. So, how can you tell if you have this problem? The following are additional signs and symptoms of gingivitis:
- Bleeding while brushing or flossing
- Bad breath
- Gum inflammation or sensitivity
- Loose teeth
- Pus underneath the tongue
- Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperature
Visit your dentist for regular checkups and professional dental cleanings. Your dentist can help you prevent further damage to your mouth and teeth.
When To See Your Dentist
If you notice any signs of gingivitis, see a dental professional immediately. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into more severe conditions such as periodontal disease. You should also schedule routine visits to your dentist so they can monitor your overall health and make sure your teeth stay healthy.
Treatment for Gingivitis
Once you have been diagnosed with gingivitis, your periodontist will provide you with several treatment options to help reduce the severity of this problem. These treatments include:
Deep dental cleaning removes debris beneath the gum line. This helps remove bacteria and other harmful substances that could cause more severe infections.
Antibiotics kill off the bacteria causing the infection. You should take these antibiotics only under the supervision of your dentist.
Misaligned teeth can make it difficult to brush and floss correctly, leading to plaque buildup around your teeth. Dental restorations can correct misalignments and improve your ability to brush and floss effectively.
Gum flap surgery or gum grafting can be used to treat severe cases of periodontal disease. This procedure involves removing damaged gum tissue and replacing it with healthy tissue.
Can Gingivitis Cure Itself?
A mild case of gingivitis usually goes away on its own without any intervention by your dentist. However, if you fail to follow proper oral hygiene practices, you may need additional treatment. In addition, if you smoke, drink alcohol, or eat foods containing too much sugar, you may require more extensive procedures to repair the damage caused by gingivitis.
How Do You Get Gingivitis to Go Away?
The best way to get gingivitis to go away is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash. You should also limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks as this can cause bacteria to grow in your mouth.
Most importantly, you should visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist can provide you with the necessary treatments and advice to keep your mouth healthy.
How Long Does Gingivitis Last?
Gingivitis can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases of gingivitis may go away on their own without any intervention by your dentist. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress into more severe conditions such as periodontal disease. To prevent this from happening, it is important to practice good oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings.
Oral Health Tips To Prevent Gingivitis
You can avoid developing gingivitis by practicing good oral hygiene.
Here are some tips to keep your mouth healthy:
- Practice proper brushing techniques. Brush gently but thoroughly along the gum line. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles trapped in between your teeth.
- Avoid smoking. Smoking weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight bacterial infections.
- Eat a balanced diet. Foods rich in calcium and vitamin C help strengthen your gums and bones.
- Remember to visit your dentist regularly. Regular visits allow your dentist to catch problems early before they become worse.
Contact us Today!
Your gums are just as important as your teeth when it comes to your oral health. They protect your teeth and help them function properly. Inflamed gums can lead to bad breath, bleeding gums, and even gum disease. To learn how we can help you maintain strong, healthy gums, contact our office today!