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Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about gingivitis, including its causes, warning signs, treatment options, and prevention methods. Read on to learn more about this common oral health condition.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that occurs when plaque, a sticky substance that forms in your mouth over time, begins to build up around your teeth. The bacteria in plaque can cause inflammation in the tissues surrounding your teeth, leading to gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease (a severe form of gum disease), a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

What’s the Difference Between Gingivitis and Periodontitis?

Gingivitis and periodontitis are both forms of gum disease. The main difference between them is the severity of the condition. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that occurs when plaque builds up around your teeth, leading to inflammation in the gingival tissues. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is a more severe form of gum disease that can cause tooth loss if left untreated.

The symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that may bleed easily when brushing or flossing. In contrast, periodontitis can cause deeper pockets to form between your teeth and gums, as well as receding gums and bone loss in the jawbone.

Treatment for both conditions typically involves professional dental cleanings to remove tartar and plaque buildup from around your teeth. Your dentist may also recommend antibiotics or special mouth rinses to help reduce inflammation and fight infection. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat advanced periodontal disease.

What Causes Gingivitis?

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor dental hygiene. Poor brushing habits or lack of flossing can allow plaque to accumulate between your teeth and under your gums. Plaque also tends to collect at the base of your tongue, where it can be difficult for you to brush effectively. In addition, if you smoke cigarettes, you may develop gingivitis because smoking reduces saliva production and makes it easier for plaque to stick to your teeth.

Other risk factors contributing to gingivitis include diabetes, pregnancy, stress, hormonal changes, and certain medications such as birth control pills. A diet high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and acidic foods can also increase your risk of developing a bacterial infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it could mean that you have gingivitis:

  • Bleeding from your gums
  • Redness or swelling of your gum tissue
  • Gum inflammation
  • Sensitive teeth and gums
  • Receding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pus-like discharge coming out of your gums

Gingivitis doesn’t cause pain. In fact, many people don’t realize they have it until their gums begin to bleed or recede. That is why you must see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups to keep your mouth healthy.

When To See a Dentist?

See your dentist immediately if you notice any signs of gingivitis. Your dentist will examine your gums to determine whether there is an infection. If they find evidence of gingivitis, they will recommend treatments to help prevent further damage.

Treatment Options for Gingivitis

Once you have been diagnosed with gingivitis, your dentist will provide you with different treatment options depending on how advanced the condition is. Some of the treatments available include:

#1. Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) involve removing tartar (calcified plaque) and other debris beneath the gum line using special tools.

#2. Antibiotic Medications

 

Antibiotic rinses may be prescribed to treat infections caused by bacterial plaque. These rinses should only be used after consulting a dental professional.

#3. Dental Restoration

Misaligned or crooked teeth can make cleaning more difficult during your daily oral care, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Dental restorations can help correct this problem.

#4. Surgery

If you have a severe case of gingivitis that has progressed to periodontal disease, your dentist may suggest surgery to remove damaged tissue. This dental procedure is called a gum graft.

Preventative Measures Against Gingivitis

To reduce your chances of getting gingivitis, make sure to follow these tips:

  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. This helps remove bacteria and food particles from your mouth.
  • Floss once per day. Flossing removes plaque from areas around your teeth that cannot be reached by regular brushing.
  • Stop smoking. Smokers are much more likely to develop gum disease than nonsmokers. Smoking also increases the risk of other oral health problems, such as oral cancer.
  • Avoid sticky candies and hard candy. These types of treats tend to trap food particles and bacteria deep within your mouth.
  • Visit your dentist every six months for dental cleanings and checkups. Regular checkups can help detect any early signs of gingivitis so that it can be treated before it progresses into a more serious condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get gingivitis to go away?

The best way to get rid of gingivitis is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist every six months for professional cleanings and checkups.

Can gingivitis cure itself?

Milder cases of gingivitis often resolve themselves without treatment. As long as you practice good oral hygiene, your gums will heal on their own. However, if you continue to neglect your oral health, you could end up with periodontal disease which requires professional care.

How long does gingivitis last?

Gingivitis can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks or months, depending on the severity of the condition. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal disease which can cause irreversible damage to your teeth and gums.

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If you ignore your oral health, you are putting yourself at risk for serious dental problems. We invite you to schedule an appointment today so we can give you all the information you need about our office and our services. We offer comprehensive services to ensure that you receive the best possible care!