Gingivitis: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments

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Gingivitis - Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Proper Oral Hygiene Can Prevent Gingivitis.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is easy and should be practiced by everyone. It is as simple as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily. When these practices are not done or done improperly, your oral hygiene and teeth suffer. Your mouth can develop bad breath, your teeth can develop cavities, and your gums could develop any number of diseases. One of these such diseases is gingivitis.

What is Gingivitis?

 Gingivitis is a relatively common, non-destructive form of gum disease. It occurs when plaque, a naturally-occurring, bacteria containing film, builds on the teeth, leading to inflammation of the gum tissue. When inflamed, your gums will become irritated, puffy, and red, often bleeding when brushing your teeth or flossing. Gingivitis should not be taken lightly and should be treated swiftly. If untreated, it can progress into periodontitis, a much more serious disease that often leads to tooth loss.

There are mild cases of gingivitis where patients will not even recognize that they have the disease since their symptoms are so mild. However, whenever you first notice any symptoms or your symptoms persist, you should seek treatment from your Las Colinas dentistry at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry.

Symptoms

 For those who practice proper oral hygiene techniques, their gums will be firm and have a pale pink color. They will fit tightly around the teeth. This is always good to know when examining your gums to check their health. Here are a few symptoms of gingivitis:

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it is in your best interest to schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you wait too long to treat gingivitis, the worse the condition will get.

Causes

While the most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, this is far from the only reason for the disease. Most cases of gingivitis are due to plaque buildup, but some causes vary. Here are a handful of causes of gingivitis:

  • Plaque Buildup: Due to poor oral hygiene, plaque will start to build up on the surface of your teeth. Once enough has built up, it will then begin to irritate and finally inflame your gums. Plaque is composed of mostly bacteria and forms when the bacteria that naturally occurs in your mouth comes into contact with sugars and starches in the food you eat.
  • Tartar Buildup: If enough plaque has built up on the surface of your teeth and hasn’t been removed in a timely fashion, it will then develop into tartar. Tartar collects more and more bacteria and makes it much more difficult to remove plaque. It essentially creates a shield for any bacteria found on your teeth. A dental professional will be needed to remove tartar.
  • Smoking: Smoking is the greatest danger to the gums, leading to the greatest risk for gum disease. Smokers are 7 times more likely to suffer from gum disease than nonsmokers.
  • Hormone Changes: While a less commonly known cause, changes in your hormones can have a great effect on the development of gingivitis. During times like puberty, menopause, the menstrual cycle, or pregnancy, your gums will become much more sensitive thus creating a greater chance for inflammation.
  • Poor Diet: Without proper nutrition from a healthy diet, your body will not be able to fight off potential infections that include gum disease. Also, certain foods that are heavy in sugar and starch can actually lead to increased plaque buildup.
  • Other Diseases: There are some diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV, and others that make it harder for your body to properly fight off infections that will eventually lead to gingivitis.

Treatment

In some mild cases of gingivitis, the condition can be treated safely and appropriately at home. Even if it has become more advanced, it can be successfully reversed if the treatment you receive is proper and prompt.

  • At Home Care: Not only is this type of care used to reverse the effects of gingivitis, but it can also be used to prevent the disease altogether. By practicing proper oral hygiene techniques, you can easily prevent gingivitis. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily, rinsing your mouth out with mouthwash regularly, and replacing your toothbrush every three months can help prevent or reverse the condition.
  • Professional Care: In some severe cases, plaque and tartar build up can be so advanced that you cannot remove it on your own. You will be forced to see a dentist to remove the plaque and tartar in a process known as scaling. This process can be uncomfortable and even painful if the gums have become extremely inflamed. To further prevent this condition from happening again, you should schedule regular checkups with your dentist.

Gingivitis can develop into a nasty condition if not treated in a timely manner. Whenever it has become advanced, you will notice your teeth becoming much more sensitive than before, and they might even bleed. While you can occasionally treat this disease on your own, it is recommended to seek the professional care of your dentist. If you believe that you may have developed gingivitis, contact your Las Colinas dentists at Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today.

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