Gums protect and support your teeth as well as the tissue that holds them to the bone. When your gums aren’t healthy, you risk losing those teeth — and damaging your overall health. Gingivitis (gum inflammation) can lead to periodontitis (gum disease), resulting in tooth loss, so it’s very important to take care of this problem as soon as the first signs and symptoms appear.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis?
Gingivitis usually begins in areas that you’re not brushing or keeping clean. Bacteria builds up on your teeth and your gums react to that bacteria in the form of inflammation. If you don’t address the redness and bleeding that happens while brushing, gum problems can get worse. Infection and inflammation will spread deeper into the tissues that support the tooth and become destructive.
Eventually, the inflamed gums begin to pull away from the teeth, which lets in more bacteria requiring gum disease treatment. At this stage, gum disease is called periodontitis. The tissues and bone that support the teeth break down, creating pockets where bacteria can grow. As you lose bone, your teeth get looser and looser, and eventually, they fall out.
Additionally, oral health affects your whole body’s health. Studies, like those at Harvard, have shown that people with gum disease are more likely to get heart disease and diabetes.
Noticing symptoms of infected gums is the first step in getting the right treatment. Here are the noticeable signs and symptoms of gingivitis:
Gum inflammation, or swelling
Receding gum line
Bleeding of the gums after brushing
Halitosis (bad breath)
How Do I Prevent Gingivitis?
The best prevention starts by doing proper at-home dental care.
These treatments should be done on a daily basis:
- Brushing – Plaque buildup can be reduced by brushing your teeth regularly with a good toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, 2-3 times a day.
- Floss – This is another means of removing plaque in between teeth and other areas hard to reach. You should floss once a day with flossers, traditional floss or a Hydrofloss.
Here are the other preventive methods:
- Get Your Routine Dental Cleanings
You should get a dental exam and cleaning at least twice every year. During this cleaning, the hygienist will remove the plaque that is too hard to remove by brushing and flossing. After a hygienist removes plaque, it is important to prevent plaque buildup by continually brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
Nutrient shortfalls show up in mouth tissue before they show up anywhere else. Additionally, periodontitis is associated with lower blood levels of vitamins and minerals; therefore, getting enough nutrients can be an important preventive method. Try to avoid processed foods, especially simple sugars.
- Stop Smoking
Smoking can make it harder for your gums to repair themselves and increase your risk of developing gingivitis.
- Consult a Dentist
A dentist can evaluate what stage your gingivitis is and, if necessary, suggest further treatments. If you are in more advanced stage, you may require antibiotics or even more extensive gum therapy. Antibiotic medication gives aid to the body’s immune system in fighting bacterial infections. The bacteria in plaque should be kept to a minimal level so the immune system can fight it. If it gets to a higher level, your body will need the help of antibiotics. Taking antibiotics may come with risks and should only be done after consultation with a dentist.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Barotz Dental; our dentist in Denver can help get your oral health back on track in no time.