When plaque formed by bacteria accumulates on the teeth and causes inflammation in the surrounding gum tissue, the condition we encounter is gingivitis. It is important to take gingivitis seriously and seek treatment. Otherwise, you are likely to encounter more serious problems. You can find more information below.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common mild gum disease that causes irritation, redness, and swelling (inflammation) in your gums, the part around the base of your teeth. It is important to take gingivitis seriously and seek prompt treatment. Because gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease and tooth loss called periodontitis .
A common cause of gingivitis is not paying enough attention to oral hygiene. Oral health habits such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups will help prevent and reverse gingivitis.
The most common cause of gum swelling and inflammation is poor oral hygiene, which causes plaque buildup on the teeth and inflammation of the surrounding gum tissues.
This plaque that forms on the teeth can cause gingivitis in the following ways:
- Plaque buildup on your teeth: Plaque is an invisible, sticky film that forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in foods interact with bacteria normally found in your mouth. Plaque needs to be removed daily as it re-forms quickly.
- Plaque turning into tartar: Plaque remaining on your teeth can harden under your gum line and become tartar (calculus), which collects bacteria. Tartar makes it difficult to remove plaque, creates a protective shield for bacteria and causes irritation in the gum line. To remove tartar, you need professional dental cleaning.
- Gingivitis: The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more it irritates the gums and the area around the base of the tooth begins to become inflamed. Over time, your gums swell and bleed easily. In such a case, tooth decay may also occur. If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to periodontitis and eventually tooth loss.
Who is at risk?
Factors that can increase your risk of gum swelling/inflammation include:
- Not paying attention to oral care
- Using tobacco and tobacco products
- advancing age (senile)
- dry mouth
- Unhealthy eating
- Vitamin C deficiency
- crooked teeth
- Conditions and diseases that weaken the immune system
- drugs used for epilepsy
- other drugs
- Hormonal changes (such as pregnancy and menstrual periods)
- genetic diseases
- some types of infection
Symptoms of gum swelling/inflammation include:
- swollen and/or reddened gums
- Teeth bleed easily
- bad breath
- receding gums
- sensitive gums
When should you see the dentist?
If you notice any of the signs of gingivitis, you should make an appointment with your dentist. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances of reversing the damage from gingivitis and preventing it from progressing to other serious dental problems.
Dentists usually diagnose gingival swelling/inflammation based on:
- A review of your dental and medical history and any conditions that may be contributing to your symptoms
- Examining your teeth, gums, mouth, and tongue for signs of plaque and inflammation
- Measuring teeth and gums
- Oral and dental x-ray
In particular, if you are faced with a persistent gum problem, your dentist may refer you to a different physician, taking into account possible underlying health problems.
Early treatment of gum swelling/inflammation reverses symptoms and prevents it from progressing to more serious gum disease and tooth loss. To get the most out of a successful treatment, you should take care of your oral health, brush your teeth regularly twice a day, and quit smoking.
Professional gingivitis treatment includes:
- Professional teeth cleaning: Your first professional cleaning will include removing all plaque, tartar and bacterial residues. It removes scaling, tartar and bacteria from your tooth surfaces and under your gums. Root planning removes bacterial products produced by inflammation, softens root surfaces, discourages tartar and bacterial growth, and allows for proper healing. The procedure can be done using instruments, a laser or an ultrasonic device.
- Dental restoration if needed: Misaligned teeth or poorly fitting crowns, bridges or other dental restorations can irritate your gums and make plaque removal difficult during daily oral care. If problems with your teeth or dental restorations are contributing to your gingivitis, your dentist may recommend removing these problems.
- Ongoing care: Gingivitis usually heals after a thorough professional cleaning – as long as you pay attention to your oral hygiene. Your dentist will help you plan an effective home schedule and regular professional checkups and cleaning schedule.
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Steps you can take at home to prevent and reverse gingivitis include:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, or better yet, after every meal or snack.
- Use a soft toothbrush and replace it at least every three to four months.
- Consider using an electric toothbrush, which may be more effective at removing plaque and tartar.
- Use dental floss daily.
- Use a mouth rinse to help reduce plaque between your teeth.
- Use products specifically designed to clean between your teeth, such as toothpaste, an interdental brush, or a toothbrush.
- Get regular professional dental cleanings on a schedule recommended by your dentist.
- Do not use tobacco and tobacco products.