Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue which is the beginning form of gum disease. This condition can and should be treated right away to prevent it from worsening and turning into a serious periodontal infection or bone loss. Our Mesa, Arizona dentist can help you treat and prevent gingivitis.
Causes of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a result of overexposure to plaque buildup on your teeth and gums. Plaque is the sticky film that appears on your teeth every few hours regardless of whether or not you eat and drink in that time period.
Gingivitis is caused by one or more of the following:
Poor Oral Care ー Overexposure to plaque basically means that you aren’t cleaning your teeth as well as, or as often as you should be.
Smoking/Tobacco Use ー Research shows that smokers are seven times more likely to suffer from gum disease than people who don’t smoke.
Stress ー Being under constant stress weakens your immune system and compromises your ability to fight infection, including gingivitis and gum disease.
Poor Nutrition ー Being malnourished and missing key nutrients in your body makes it more difficult for your body to fight infection.
Medications ー Medications, whether they’re prescription or over-the-counter drugs, have so many side effects which can in fact affect the inside of your mouth.
Illnesses or Diseases ー Diabetes, cancer, and anemia are just a few conditions that impair the body’s ability to fight gum infections.
Hormonal changes ー Whether it’s puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or your menstrual cycle, hormonal changes can affect your gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
Red, inflamed, and puffy gums that bleed easily are all common symptoms of gingivitis. The gums often look irritated, feel sore, and you may even have bad breath.
Make sure that you’re brushing and flossing regularly and removing all the plaque that you possibly can.
Keep in mind that plaque turns into hard tartar within 24 hours. At that point, it can’t be removed with a toothbrush or floss. For this reason, it’s important to visit our Mesa dentist every six months for a professional cleaning. We’ll remove the tartar that was left behind and give you some tips on how to clean those hard-to-reach areas. Whether it’s a technique that you can do better or a certain tool that you need, we’ll make sure that you have all of the resources available to you to achieve a disease-free mouth.
Some oral hygiene aids that are helpful in preventing gingivitis include:
- An electric toothbrush ー Use it twice daily along the gums to ensure that you’re always applying the right amount of pressure and removing as much plaque as possible.
- A water flosser ー This tool makes it easier to reach hard-to-floss areas.
- Floss threaders ー For use under dental bridges or orthodontic appliances.
What Happens If Gingivitis Goes Untreated?
If gingivitis goes untreated, you’ll begin to notice gums that bleed much more often, bad breath that won’t go away no matter how many times you brush your teeth or use mouth wash, receding gums, as well as teeth that are shifting or feel loose.
What’s happening in your mouth when you’re experiencing these symptoms? Tartar buildup is pulling your gums away from your teeth. The bacteria that are present are infecting the area and eating away at the bone that holds your teeth in place.
Chronic gum inflammation is also associated with respiratory disease, coronary artery disease, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis. Research suggests that the bacteria found in gum disease can enter your bloodstream and cause heart disease.
Treatment for Gingivitis
If you have gingivitis the first step starts with you. Begin to practice better at-home dental care and you’ll see a big difference right away.
Also, call Eastport Dental to schedule a professional cleaning so that our hygienist can provide you with a clean slate and helps you improve your oral health.
Gingivitis is reversible but the effects of periodontal disease (advanced stage gum disease) are not. Even though we can remove the tartar buildup, clear the gum infection, and prevent it from returning, the bone won’t grow back, and the gum recession will remain to a certain extent. It’s best to reverse gingivitis at the earliest onset of symptoms before permanent damage occurs to your smile.
Have Sensitive, Bleeding Gums? It’s Time for a Checkup
Give our Mesa, AZ dentist a call today. At Eastport Dental we’re glad to help you in any way we can.