Gingivitis is the non-destructive form of periodontal disease; however, left untreated, gingivitis can progress to the more serious form of the disease, periodontitis. Periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. For this reason, recognizing and seeking treatment for gingivitis is crucial.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
Inflammation is probably the most noticeable sign of gingivitis; however, this swelling often leads to a variety of other symptoms.
The signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Soft gums that bleed while brushing and/or flossing.
- Consistent bad breath.
- Bright red gums.
- Gums that are tender or painful when touched.
- Purple-looking gums.
- Gums that are pulling away from the teeth (i.e., receding).
- Shiny gums.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis frequently occurs due to the buildup of a sticky, bacteria-filled biofilm called plaque. This biofilm accumulates on, between and around the teeth, triggering an immune response, which results in inflammation of the gingival tissue (i.e., gingiva or gums).
What Creates the Plaque?
The plaque is created by colonizing bacteria. Unless removed through the use of proper oral hygiene techniques, the bacteria start binding to the plaque that has settled on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed adequately within 24 to 72 hours of its development, it hardens into tartar (i.e., calculus). Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional.
During a traditional cleaning, or with a more extensive cleaning process known as scaling, plaque and tartar are removed. Since certain dental problems can contribute to poor oral hygiene, your Southern Oaks Dentist may recommend procedures to fix damaged or crooked teeth. In addition, your dentist may want to address dental appliances that are not fitting correctly. Besides aggravating the gum tissue, these badly fitting dental appliances can make it difficult for you to remove plaque from the areas where they sit.
Gingivitis typically resolves after the individual visits the dentist for a cleaning, addresses any other issues that may have contributed to the development of gingivitis (e.g., damaged teeth, ill-fitting dental appliances, etc.) and begins practicing a better daily oral hygiene regimen. For example, brushing longer and more frequently (at least twice a day) with an electronic toothbrush, flossing regularly, and using an antiseptic mouthwash have all been effective solutions for gingivitis.
If you notice that your gums are red and puffy, and they bleed easily when you brush or floss, you need to make an appointment with a dentist at Southern Oaks Dental Care right away because you may have gingivitis.