Gingivitis

Gingivitis is said to be the initial stages of gum disease which is associated with red, swollen gums. It might go unnoticed most of the times since the symptoms are mild. If left untreated it may lead to periodontal disease and eventually tooth loss. Lack of oral hygiene is the primary cause for gingivitis.

Causes

The primary reason for gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that leads to plaque buildup. Plaque is formed when the starch in your food combines with the bacteria in your mouth to form a sticky, invisible layer on the teeth and gums. Plaque that has not been removed may harden and form tartar in a couple of days and start irritating the gum line. The gums become tender, red and swollen. At this stage the damage is reversible since no bone or tissue damage has occurred. When left untreated, it may lead to periodontitis in which the gums pull away from the teeth forming pockets that are home to bacteria. This leads to destruction of bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place leading to tooth loss. Other factors that may lead to gingivitis include

  • Hormonal changes such as those during pregnancy, puberty etc.

  • Illnesses such as diabetes, HIV, cancer etc

  • Certain medications

  • Smoking

  • Poor oral hygiene

  • Family history of dental problems

Symptoms

In most cases the symptoms are unnoticeable until it is too late. Hence make sure that you meet the dentist in case you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding gums during or after brushing your teeth

  • Swollen or tender gums

  • Receding gums

  • Bad breath

  • Loose or shifting teeth

  • Change in fit of dentures or fit of teeth while biting

Treatment

Prompt treatment can reverse the signs of gum disease. Treatment options vary based on the severity and extent of disease. Professional cleaning followed by stepped up oral hygiene at home. Check with your dentist to know the best options suitable for you.

Prevention

Certain lifestyle and health changes can help you reduce the risk of gingivitis. These are

  • Get professional dental cleanings as suggested by your dentist or atleast twice a year

  • Brush atleast twice a day and floss atleast once a day.

  • Use an antibacterial mouth rinse to reduce bacteria in mouth that cause plaque and tartar.

  • Stop smoking

  • Reduce stress

  • Eat a well balanced diet

  • Avoid teeth clenching and grinding

Practicing good oral hygiene early and consistently throughout your life is the key to prevent gingivitis. To know more about the condition or the methods to treat it fix an appointment with our doctor.