Gingivitis. You have likely seen and heard this word numerous times during your life. It’s used throughout commercials and product advertising everywhere. But what really is gingivitis and how can it affect your dental health? More broadly defined as gum disease, gingivitis is the first step towards poor oral health.
Typically, it is signified by inflammation in the gums, but it can progress to more severe conditions. Thankfully, gingivitis itself can be pretty easy to catch and maintain, it just requires regular home oral care and keeping up with bi-annual dental appointments.
Gum disease is broken down into three stages, ranging in severity from least to most. The first stage is known as gingivitis. It can be characterized by a number of symptoms, but the primary thing your dentist will look for are swollen, red gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into the more advanced stages of gum disease, known as periodontitis or advanced periodontitis, respectively. This can cause significant damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw.
At the early stages, gum disease can be treatable; however, when the plaque that develops between the teeth is not cleared by brushing and flossing, it can grow into toxins that may cause permanent damage.
These toxins can attack your tooth enamel, which is what helps keep your teeth strong and healthy. As this harmful plaque hardens, it becomes tartar. Over time, this can cause the gums to separate from the teeth and allow damage to develop in the jawbone and surrounding tissue.
Only a certified dentist can accurately diagnose you with gingivitis, but there are a few tell-tale signs that you can see yourself. As mentioned, the classic symptoms are swollen, irritated gums. Many gingivitis patients experience bleeding when they brush and an overall redness of the gums. Receding gums may also signify gum disease. It is also common to experience overall bad breath or have an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
In most cases, if you are brushing your teeth correctly and flossing regularly, you should be able to actively prevent gingivitis. However, there ways to reduce your risk of gum disease, such as:
Gingivitis can occur at any stage of life, so it’s important to have a good family dentist and ensure proper oral care is observed by your whole family. At Beaufils Dental, we offer complete health dentistry for patients of all ages and we can treat gum disease at all its varying stages. Together, we can develop a dental care plan that you can follow to maintain gingivitis and prevent gum disease from damaging your beautiful smile!