What is Gingivitis and Do I Have It?
Daily brushing. Daily flossing. Regular dental cleanings. This is the holy trinity of preventive dentistry. Skip out on even one of these and your oral health is likely to plummet. Dental decay is a primary concern, but gum disease can also wreak havoc on your teeth. While gingivitis alone is unlikely to cause permanent damage, if left untreated it can worsen and lead to the much more serious condition known as periodontitis, and thereby subsequent tooth loss.
What causes gingivitis?
Plaque is the culprit behind all gum disease. It forms when the naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth mix with the sugars and starches that you consume. The thin invisible film that coats your teeth as a result of this interaction is what dentists identify as plaque. The good news about all this is that plaque’s easy to remove via daily brushing and flossing. The bad news? If you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque becomes tartar, which can then only be removed with a professional dental cleaning. And when tartar gets trapped under your gum line, your marginal gingiva (the part of your gums at the base of your teeth) becomes irritated and inflamed—a condition known as gingivitis. In addition to inadequate oral hygiene, the following can increase your risk of developing gum disease:
- Old age
- Dry mouth
- Vitamin C deficiency
- Crooked teeth
- Immune diseases and certain medical conditions
- Pregnancy and other hormonal changes
How to prevent gingivitis
Regular brushing, flossing and dental cleanings are the exact things it’ll take to avert gingivitis. In addition, a varied diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals will help defend against gum diseases and other oral health complications. Finally, if you smoke, quitting can further decrease your risk of getting gingivitis.
Treatment for gingivitis
Dentists agree that it’s important to treat gingivitis sooner rather than later to prevent the condition from advancing into a full-blown case of periodontitis. Periodontitis can degrade the jawbone and tooth loss then becomes a likely outcome. Scaling, root planning and sometimes surgery are required to resolve cases of periodontitis. It’s far easier to tackle gingivitis. A thorough dental cleaning and a renewed commitment to your daily oral health care routine is usually all it takes.
When to visit the dentist
If you suspect you have gingivitis, it’s time to visit your dental clinic. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Bleeding after brushing or flossing
- Tender gums that may be sore to the touch
- Dark red or purple gums
- Receding gums
- Chronic bad breath
If you have one or more of these symptoms, get in touch with us at Collins Bay Dental. What sets us apart from other dental clinics in Kingston is our commitment to putting you at ease while we provide the dental treatments you require to maintain a healthy, happy smile.
Currently, we’re accepting new patients. Simply contact us to schedule an appointment.