You know that gingivitis is bad, but do you know exactly what it is?
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease in which the gums become inflamed. Though it is very treatable, you should not leave gingivitis untreated. It can lead to much more serious oral diseases such as periodontitis.
What Causes Gingivitis?
The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth and gums. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth and gums as starches and sugars from the food you eat interacts with the bacteria in your mouth. It needs to be removed daily or it could build up quickly. Plaque can also harden under your gumline and turn into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove than plaque. Tartar creates a protective shield for the bacteria to cause irritation on the gumline. When plaque and tartar aren’t removed, they produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gum tissue. The longer gingivitis is left untreated, the worse the situation can become.
What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?
While healthy gums are firm and pale pink, gums suffering from gingivitis are swollen and puffy, and can take on a dark red hue. They often bleed easily when you brush or floss, and they feel incredibly tender. Gingivitis also causes gums to recede and pull away from your teeth, making teeth look elongated. One of the most obvious and perhaps embarrassing symptoms is bad breath. You should see us immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
How Can You Prevent Gingivitis?
The good news is that preventing gingivitis is as easy as practicing good oral hygiene. This means thoroughly brushing your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day, especially after meals. You should also eat a healthy diet – avoid things like candy and chips – and stay away from cigarettes and other types of tobacco.
Coming in to see us for regular checkups and cleanings is also vital to a healthy mouth. At Williamsville Family Dentistry, we’re dedicated to helping you keep your mouth in fighting shape. Call us today to schedule an appointment!