Gingivitis is an infection in the mouth; it is a chronic bacterial infection that begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky film that constantly forms on teeth) causes inflammation of gum tissue.
Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that causes red, swollen, and bleeding gums, although initially it only brings minor discomfort if any discomfort at all.
Gingivitis is typically the result of insufficient oral hygiene. The good news is that gingivitis can be reversed with a proper oral home care regimen and professional treatment when needed.
If not treated, Gingivitis develops into full-blown periodontitis as plaque spreads and grows below the gum line, leading to irritation and inflammation. The tissues and bone that support the teeth are damaged, causing gums to separate from the teeth and allowing the formation of infection pockets between teeth and gums.
As time goes by, pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Unfortunately, in the latter stages of gum disease teeth can loosen and eventually require extraction.
It’s not a pretty picture, which is why Alex Bratic Dental Care wants you to know all about gingivitis, its symptoms, and how to treat and prevent it.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
Common warning signs of gingivitis include:
- Inflammation of the gums: Gums are swollen and sensitive to the touch.
- Red or purple colour of gums.
- Teeth appear longer: Gumline recession occurs for many people with gingivitis.
- Pockets between teeth and gums: A pocket or area can develop between a tooth and gum. If food falls into the pocket, bacteria can grow, the gum tissue may become irritated and an infection may develop.
- Bad breath: One symptom of gingivitis is chronic foul breath.
- Pus between the tooth and gum: Gum disease is the most likely culprit if a thick, yellow pus develops in the pocket between the tooth and gum.
Causes of Gingivitis
If any of the factors mentioned below apply to you, pay extra attention to your teeth and gum line.
- Smoking/tobacco use is one of the most common risk factors linked to gum disease. It can also decrease the chances of successful treatment. Smokers are seven times more likely to have gum disease than non-smokers.
- Improper oral hygiene, including not brushing or flossing regularly is one of the most easily avoided factors in gingivitis.
- Incomplete plaque removal. While brushing and flossing you may be missing the plaque found around the gum line, even if plaque on your teeth is removed.
- Hormonal changes including puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and monthly menstruation cause increased sensitivity and inflammation in your gums.
- Poor nutrition makes it more difficult for the body to fight gum disease, and some vitamins are demonstrated to improve gum and bone health.
- Medications for many conditions can affect oral health.
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, HIV, and cancer retard the body’s ability to fight gingivitis.
Take our Gum disease risk quiz
5 Tips to Prevent Gingivitis
Gingivitis is preventable. Here are some oral hygiene tips you can do to prevent it:
- Brush your teeth. Brushing regularly, and after meals, removes food debris and plaque stuck between your teeth and gums. When you brush, be sure to reach your tongue, bacteria often hide there.
- Flossing daily helps remove food particles and plaque between teeth and along the gum line. These are areas your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Rinse with mouthwash. Mouthwash can help reduce plaque and rinse out food particles that brushing and flossing may have missed.
- Know your risk factors. Age, smoking, diet and genetics can all increase your risk for periodontal disease. If you are at increased risk, be sure to talk to us at Alex Bratic Dental Care.
- See Alex Bratic Dental Care. Come in for a checkup and we will look at your teeth, plaque buildup, gums, bite, jawbone, and any other risk factors we find present. Identifying symptoms of gum disease early is the first step towards protecting your teeth and gums.
A professional cleaning at the dentist is the only way to remove built-up plaque that has hardened into tartar. If gum disease has advanced, a scale and plane can be performed to deal with diseased periodontal pockets and gum infection.
You may receive ultrasonic scaling to remove plaque, tartar and food debris, along with a hand scale of the tooth and root surfaces. Laser treatments are also sometimes performed.
Of course it’s best to not reach the stage you need treatment – so focus on that prevention!
Comfort, Convenience, and Excellent Care at Alex Bratic
Alex Bratic Dental Care in Beenleigh delivers the very best in dental services to patients of all ages. If you, your child, or a family member needs a smile fix, or just a checkup, we’re here for you!
Alex Bratic Dental Care is located on City Road near the Pacific Motorway near Beenleigh Station, with convenient public transport nearby and free onsite parking.
Call (07) 3287 2627 or visit us at 113 City Road in Beenleigh.