Gingivitis, often known for its tendency to cause gums to bleed, is caused from poor oral hygiene. The disease isn’t usually painful or uncomfortable, but it can eventually lead to periodontitis, which is more serious. Getting an immediate treatment at the first signs of gingivitis will prevent the disease from spreading further and give you the best chances for reversing any damage.
Gingivitis is possibly the most common form of gum disease experienced in the United States. It isn’t a very harmful disease on its own, but it can lead to bigger problems if not treated properly. It’s possible that due to it being such a mild issue, it often goes unnoticed until bigger problems start to result from it.
Causes and Risks
Poorly maintained oral hygiene is the leading cause of gingivitis. Plaque is a film that attaches to your teeth and wears away the minerals that protect the enamel. It is made primarily from bacteria and comes from sugars and starches reacting with the bacteria normally found in your mouth. If plaque is not cleaned within 2 or 3 days, it can harden around the gum line to form tartar. Tartar is what leads to gingivitis and can be difficult to remove without a professional cleaning. Tobacco users, elderly people, poor diet, drug use (including prescription medications) can contribute to the likelihood of developing gingivitis.
Possibly the most well-known sign of gingivitis is the sight of blood on your toothbrush after just brushing your teeth. Other symptoms can include:
- swollen or puffy gums
- tender gums
- bad breath
- gums changing color from pink to a milky red and white
- receding gum line
At the first sign of any of these symptoms, it’s wise to schedule a dentist appointment immediately. Quick treatment increases the likelihood of reversing any damage and prevents the onset of periodontitis.
Dentists typically diagnose gingivitis based on symptoms and visual examination of the teeth and gums. In cases where there doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason for the gingivitis development, you may need to get a medical evaluation.
The first part of treatment is a thorough cleaning of your teeth to remove plaque and tartar. We will give you tips for proper brushing and cleaning at home so you can prevent yourself from getting gingivitis again in the future. If there are any dental implants that could be contributing to the gingivitis outbreak, we may adjust them for a better fit, reducing stress on the gums.