• Gingivitis: What You Need to Know

    Simply put, gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. You get it as a result of bacteria, which causes plaque to accumulate. By itself, gingivitis isn’t destructive, but when left untreated it can lead to periodontitis, a more serious type of gum disease that affects the bone below the gums.bleeding gums sign of gingivitis

    Symptoms

    If you have gingivitis, you’ll have red, puffy gums that often bleed when you brush or floss your teeth. They may even appear purple, and will be painful and tender. You may also experience halitosis (bad breath), receding gums, and soft gums. If allowed to continue, gingivitis leads to deep pocketing between teeth and gums. These pockets collect plaque and are hard to clean, which eventually results in more severe effects such as bone loss.

    Causes

    Gingivitis can be caused by changes in hormone level, some medications, and diseases. However, the most common cause for gingivitis is a buildup of bacterial plaque in and around your teeth. Plaque hardens into a substance called tartar, which can only be removed professionally. High levels of plaque and tartar trigger an immune response that may lead to tissue loss – and this can eventually result in the loss of teeth.

    Treatment

    Gingivitis can be reversed, especially if caught in its early stages. A dentist can remove plaque and tartar with a deep scaling or root planing process. Additional teeth cleanings can be scheduled to make sure build-up does not occur. Some dental problems such as crooked teeth or ill-fitting crowns can exacerbate the problem and irritate the gums, so these issues can be fixed. In more severe cases, surgery make take place to reduce pocketing and gain access to teeth surfaces for deeper cleaning. Sometimes, antibiotics are used.

    Ultimately, prevention is key. You can reduce your chances of getting gingivitis with a proper dental hygiene routine. Brushing teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day are your best preventative measures. An antiseptic mouthwash may also assist in killing the bacteria before they cause problems.

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