Learning about the causes and treatment of gingivitis will help you better understand and prevent the onset of gum disease. Gingivitis occurs when a film of plaque, or bacteria, accumulates on the teeth. According to the American Dental Association, gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums, and if left untreated a more severe infection known as periodontitis will take hold. Gingivitis and periodontitis are the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Dental diseases can be expensive, so the best approach is preventative dental care at home and ensuring you book the recommended bi-annual dental cleaning.
Symptoms of gingivitis include red and puffy gums, tender gums that bleed easily when brushing your teeth, receding gums and halitosis. Gingivitis can be remedied with improved oral hygiene. Some steps you can take include longer and more frequent brushing, more frequent flossing and include an antiseptic mouthwash to help.
In mild cases of gingivitis, patients may not even know they have it, because symptoms are mild. However, the condition should be taken seriously and addressed immediately.
If you’re experiencing severe symptoms, such as extreme pain or bleeding, see your doctor or dentist. Untreated gingivitis may produce more pressing health problems.
Types of Gingivitis
Understanding Gingivitis classification is necessary for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment planning. There are two main classifications of gingival diseases:
Dental plaque-induced gingival disease:
Possibly caused by plaque, systemic factors, medications, or malnutrition.
Non-plaque induced gingival lesions:
Can be caused by a particular bacterium, virus, or fungus. Can be caused by genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or reactions to foreign bodies, such as dentures. Sometimes, there is no specific cause.
Causes And Options
Gingivitis is an accumulation of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth. A measurement of your pocket depth is the first step in the diagnosis. Pockets deeper than 4 mm could possibly indicate gum disease.
Dental plaque is a biofilm that grows freely on the teeth. This community of micro-organisms triggers an immune response, which, in turn, can eventually lead to the destruction of gingival, or gum tissue. Scaling and root planing removes all traces of plaque, tartar, and bacteria from your teeth and gums.
If plaque is not thoroughly removed, it can transform into calcified plaque; called calculus, or tartar, found at the bottom of the teeth, close to the gum line. Symptoms include yellow-colored teeth. Plaque needs to be removed on a daily basis. Calculus can only be removed professionally.
Potential Causes Of Gingivitis
Changes in hormones may be responsible for promoting dental disease. This may occur throughout puberty, during menopause, with each menstrual cycle, or during pregnancy.
Signs of Gingivitis:
- Tender gums that may be painful to the touch
- Bright red or purple gums
- Bleeding from the gums when brushing or flossing
- Inflammation, or swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Soft gums
- Halitosis, or bad breath
- Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease.
- Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.
- Periodontitis is more severe and can eventually lead to teeth loss.
- Periodontitis is often known as ‘Gum Disease.’
Tips for Plaque Prevention
Plaque forms within 24 hours. Caused by the mixture of the bacteria in your mouth and food, especially sugar. The teeth feel fuzzy or rough. Fewer bacteria, less plaque.
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid irritating your gums.
- Electric toothbrushes are better equipped to remove plaque.
- As you floss, be sure you wrap the floss around both sides of each tooth, using a push-pull motion to remove as much plaque as possible.
- Get a professional dental cleaning every six months.
- Get a dental exam and X-rays once a year.
- Use a mouthwash daily to kill the bacteria in your mouth.
- Calcium and essential vitamins such as B12 are beneficial to your gums.
Key Diet Lesson:
You can help prevent plaque build-up with a balanced diet including limiting your sugar and carbohydrate intake.
The Dental Exam Expectations
During the dental exam, we offer oral hygiene training, ensure you can brush and floss effectively. If necessary, follow-up appointments will be recommended for ongoing cleanings, fixing of any dental problems which may be making it difficult to suitably remove plaque and tartar, such as crooked teeth, or poorly fitted crowns or bridges. Learn more about Nighttime Tips For Taking Care Of Your Teeth. and read more about Avoiding Dental Plaque Build-Up. Remember, regular dental cleanings can improve your health.