Treat your Gingivitis Today!
Gingivitis, the inflammation of the gums due to bacterial infection, affects nearly 35.7 million adults in America. Luckily, however, gingivitis is one of the most easily treated dental diseases, provided it is diagnosed early.
Understanding Gum Disease and Gingivitis Treatments
Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. There are two broad types of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Gingivitis occurs when dental plaque builds up on the teeth and causes inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. While plaque is a natural element in any person’s mouth, excess plaque buildup produces toxins that irritate the gums. Inflamed gums are red, puffy, painful, and bleed when irritated. When left untreated, gingivitis results in socket infections, tooth loss, and the development of periodontitis.
Causes of Gingivitis
There’s one primary cause of gingivitis: the buildup of plaque on the teeth. However, a variety of other factors can increase the amount of plaque that deposits itself on the teeth:
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Poor oral hygiene
- Hormonal changes
- Poor nutrition
- Chronic disorders
When Is It Time to See a Dentist About Gingivitis?
Despite your best efforts to keep gum disease at bay, you still might experience symptoms of gingivitis. While gingivitis can be very mild in the beginning, it can progress into a very uncomfortable, painful condition. Not only does gum disease threaten the health of your mouth and teeth (not to mention your breath), it also has been linked to increasing your risk for diseases such as heart disease and pulmonary disease.
At Friendly Dentistry we provide a professional, judgment-free environment in which we evaluate your symptoms and determine the best path for treatment. Contact our Greensboro NC dental practice now if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Sensitivity to hot and/or cold
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Bleeding gums after brushing
- Painful chewing
- Dark stains at the gum line
My teeth were making me look really old. So, I decided that if I could get them fixed up, maybe it would help. And it did, a lot! I’m much more comfortable giving a big grin… It was painless, it was easy and it was so worth anything to go through this. I love my teeth!”
Treating Gingivitis in Greensboro, NC
The most important aspect of treating and ultimately preventing gingivitis is the removal of excess plaque from the teeth and gums. The earlier gingivitis is diagnosed, the easier, cheaper, and more painless it is to treat this form of gum disease. Generally, the primary method of treatment is the removal of the plaque and tartar in a process called “scaling”. After this, your dentist may recommend a variety of options to help speed your recovery and control your plaque build-up in the future. These options include:
- An electric toothbrush
- A soft-bristled toothbrush
- Improved brushing techniques, such as holding the brush at a 45-degree angle
- An antiseptic, anti-plaque mouthwash
- Fluoride toothpaste containing an anti-inflammatory agent
- A diet with increased Vitamin C and calcium, which help boost gum and tooth health
For non-plaque induced gingivitis, treatment may be more complex, as it will require treatment of the underlying causes and symptoms. Generally, however, improved oral hygiene is the best treatment option.
To minimize plaque build up on both your teeth and gums, take the following preventative measures:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time
- Floss your teeth at least once a day
- Replace your toothbrush every three months
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles if your teeth and/or gums easily become sore after brushing
- Regularly check your gums for changes in color and texture
- Call your dentist if you have any concerns
There are Two Forms of Gingivitis
Plaque-induced gingivitis is by far the most common form of the disease. Infection is caused when plaque, a sticky substance composed of bacteria, mucus, and food debris, accumulates on the teeth. Eventually, the plaque hardens into tartar, which begins to irritate the gums. This, in turn, triggers an autoimmune response from the body, causing inflammation of once healthy gums.
Non-plaque induced gingivitis
Non-plaque induced gingivitis is less common, but still possible. Any action which irritates or injures your gums can lead to gingivitis, including overly vigorous brushing, aggressive flossing, athletic injuries, and food allergies. Other conditions that weaken or change the immune system can also cause gingivitis, such as pregnancy, menopause, and puberty. Those who suffer from autoimmune diseases like arthritis, diabetes, AIDS, and cancer are also at high risk for gingivitis.
Periodontitis occurs when gingivitis goes untreated. In some cases, periodontitis is a manifestation of systemic diseases such as heart disease, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Other forms of periodontitis include aggressive, chronic, and necrotizing periodontal disease. With periodontitis, the bacteria found in plaque break down the bone and connective tissues of your teeth and gums.
Plaque is a naturally-occurring sticky film that contains bacteria. When too much plaque builds up on the teeth and gums, this bacteria produces a toxin that causes gum disease. This bacteria can also be passed through saliva. Therefore, if you come in contact with infected saliva, you are susceptible to gum disease. Contact with infected saliva mostly occurs in parent-to-child transmission and between romantic partners.
Periodontal issues can arise at any age, though serious gum disease in children is rare. Parents should monitor children for any symptoms, especially bleeding. Also, when children are young, it’s vital to teach them good oral hygiene habits so they are less prone to gingivitis as they get older.
A small drop or two of blood in the sink after brushing or flossing seems harmless. However, this is a telltale sign of gingivitis. Even if you aren’t experiencing gum pain, bleeding gums from brushing and/or flossing is a gum disease symptom that should be addressed by your dentist sooner rather than later.