What is Gingivitis? How Do I Prevent It?

What is Gingivitis:

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums, otherwise known as gingiva. It is a non-destructive type of periodontal disease in its basic form. Gingivitis occurs when food and plaque gets trapped between the gum line and the teeth, in an area called the sulcus. The leading indicator of this disease is gum bleeding when brushing and flossing your teeth.

While gingivitis is considered a non-destructive form of periodontal disease, it can progress to periodontitis, which is destructive. This occurs when patients do not receive treatment for gingivitis, allowing the disease to progress and cause the gums to separate from the teeth.  Leaving gingivitis untreated can cause soft tissue damage, damage to the bone supporting the tooth and could ultimately result in the loss of teeth.

Symptoms of gingivitis:

  • Pain, swelling, tenderness or bleeding of the gum during and after brushing
  • Dark red gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Chronically bad breath
  • Consistent foul taste in mouth
  • Receding gums

What happens if you have gingivitis?

Gingivitis is actually incredibly common with more than 50% of adults over 30 experience gum disease. Luckily, it is also incredibly curable.

A regular routine of brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing once a day and optionally using a mouth rinse for added protection can both prevent gingivitis as well as be a cure for very mild instances of gingivitis.

However, it is also important for patients with gum bleeding to visit Dr. Bowyer’s office for a cleaning appointment, which is often necessary to remove the effects of gingivitis. During your dental cleaning, Dr. Bowyer can diagnose gingivitis simply by looking at your gums and teeth. A thorough cleaning to remove food and plaque from the teeth and below the gum line will occur, with the possibility of more intensive cleaning methods like scaling & root planning if plaque has calcified.

How to prevent gingivitis:

A good dental hygiene routine will be the best preventative measure against dental problems, and gingivitis is no different. In order to prevent gingivitis from occurring, you’ll want to maintain a regular dental hygiene routine that includes frequent brushing and flossing. But even with a great, maintained dental hygiene routine, patients may still develop early signs of gingivitis.

To both prevent and treat early signs of gingivitis, it is important to schedule your preventative dental cleaning appointments with Dr. Bowyer. During dental cleanings, your teeth will get a deeper cleaning than they do at home, removing plaque and buildup that can result in gingivitis. During these cleanings, Dr. Bowyer will be able to inspect your gums for signs of gingivitis and provide early treatment options when necessary in order to prevent the disease from becoming more concerning.