What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an extremely common, non-destructive periodontal (gum) disease which infects the gums. The most common type of gingivitis forms in response to plaque build-up, and can be reversed with a diligent regimen of dental hygiene. The symptoms of gingivitis include redness, tenderness, and swelling in the gums. Bleeding gums is also a very common sign of those with gingivitis, especially when brushing or flossing.

Why is treatment of Gingivitis important?

Because gingivitis is a relatively minor oral health concern, many people don’t realize that they have it. However, if left untreated, the gum inflammation can worsen, damaging the tissue and bone and sometimes leading to tooth loss. In order to prevent this, gingivitis should be taken seriously and promptly treated upon diagnosis.

How can you tell if you have Gingivitis?

Under ideal conditions, your gums should be firm and pink. When you brush and floss your teeth, your gums should not bleed. Gingivitis is such a common problem that many people assume that bleeding gums during brushing and flossing is normal and not necessarily indicative of oral health problems. This is untrue, and if your gums are bleeding you should immediately visit your dental hygienist. While gingivitis is a perfectly reversible condition with the right dental treatment, bone and tissue loss due to progressed periodontal problems is non-reversible.

Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with Gingivitis:

  • Swollen gums
  • Red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath
  • Slightly receded gum line

What are the treatment options for Gingivitis?

The best form of Gingivitis treatment is using preventive methods. Adopt a thorough dental hygiene regimen which includes brushing and flossing after every meal. Visit your dental hygienist regularly for checkups and cleanings. If you already have gingivitis, your hygienist will do a thorough mechanical debridement of the teeth to remove the plaque and tartar which may be causing the infection and gum inflammation. In some cases, clinical mouth rinses may be prescribed. In most cases, however, after your hygienist has performed a thorough cleaning of your teeth and removed the plaque and tartar, the gingivitis should subside. Keep in mind, however, that maintaining healthy teeth will always depend on diligent home care.

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Why You Should Care About Gum Health

Since a young age we’ve always been taught to brush and floss our teeth to avoid cavities. But it’s equally important to maintain the health of gums, as researchers now know that gum health influences the health of the whole body.

Researchers have drawn solid connections between periodontal disease (gum disease) and multiple other diseases. In some cases, gum problems might contribute to the development of a disease, and in other cases, gum disease can contribute to the worsening of a disease.

Diabetes

Periodontal disease is often present with diabetes. Diabetes tends to make people more susceptible to infection. Research also suggests that periodontal disease might make it harder to control blood sugar, as severe forms of the disease increase blood sugar levels.

Heart Disease and Stroke

The specific causes for this connection are not well understood, but research suggests that those with periodontal disease are at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. It may be that the inflammation caused by gum disease influences the risk of heart disease.

Cancer

Research shows that those with gum disease are at a higher risk of developing various cancers, including kidney, pancreatic and blood cancer. Several studies show a connection between oral cancer and periodontal disease.

At Apex Dental in Murray, we have a screening system called Velscope, which has a high success rate of identifying the early signs of oral cancer, signs that might be invisible to the naked eye.

How to Preserve Gum Health

Millions of Americans have moderate to severe periodontitis. Good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing, do much to prevent gum disease.

New forms of treatment are constantly being developed which can halt or reverse the progression of periodontitis. One such form of gum treatment involves the use of a state-of-the-art dental laser which removes the infection-causing bacteria. Unlike traditional periodontal treatment, when the gums are treated with a dental laser, the disease often ceases to progress for months or even years.

Regular checkups can reveal signs of gingivitis, which can be an early sign of gum disease, and cleanings can reach parts of the mouth that you’ve missed brushing. Ask your dentist about treatment options to reverse the development of gum disease.