Gingivitis is defined as inflammation of the gums. This can be caused by a number of factors that contribute to poor oral hygiene. When left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious conditions such as periodontitis and tooth loss.
Common symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Swollen and tender gums
- Receding gums
- Gums that bleed easily
- Red gums
- Bad breath
There are a number of risk factors associated with gingivitis such as:
- Poor oral hygiene habits
- Smoking and chewing tobacco
- Old age
- Dry mouth
- Certain medications
- Certain medical conditions
- Poorly fitting dental restorations
- Poor nutrition and vitamin C deficiency
Did you know?
Did you know that gingivitis can lead to other serious health complications? In addition to periodontitis, respiratory disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, stroke, and rheumatoid arthritis have all been thought to be linked to gingivitis. The bacteria associated with gingivitis can enter the bloodstream and affect other important areas of the body, which can be extremely harmful to your health.
Again, untreated gingivitis can quickly progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis. Like gingivitis, periodontitis is extremely common. According to the CDC, nearly 64.7 million Americans over the age of 30 suffer from periodontitis. This serious gum infection can cause bone and tissue loss in your mouth, especially if left untreated. Many of the symptoms of periodontitis are similar to those of gingivitis, but you may have these additional symptoms if you suffer from the disease:
- Pus between teeth and gums
- New spaces between teeth
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- A change in your bite
Fortunately, prevention can be simple when you are dedicated to a consistent, healthy dental regimen and maintain routine dental cleanings and examinations. Some at-home care tips to help aid in the prevention of gingivitis and periodontitis include:
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes
- Flossing daily
- Using an antiseptic mouthwash daily
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and addressing any health issues such as diabetes
- Having routine dental exams and cleanings at least every 6 to 12 months. Talk to your dentist about how often you should be receiving cleanings based on your individual dental care needs.
If you believe you may be suffering from gingivitis or periodontitis, do not panic. Our team here at Golden Hill Family Dentistry is well prepared to help you in the treatment of your gum disease, and in some cases, reverse the damage caused by the disease. We can also help you establish a preventative dental care plan. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.