It’s important to take care of your teeth and gums by practicing good oral hygiene habits on a daily basis. We use our mouths to talk, eat and drink, and good oral hygiene ensures that we can continue to use our mouths with ease. Poor oral hygiene can negatively impact our oral health, including the gums. We may not think about our gums as much as our teeth when we care for our oral health, but gums are the steady foundation for teeth and need just as much attention as teeth do. Gum disease is serious, but early recognition and treatment can help reverse the effects and prevent further damage.
What is gingivitis?
In order to protect yourself from serious gum disease, it’s important to know what it is and what causes it. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and should be treated accordingly before it develops into periodontitis, which is a much more severe stage of gum disease.2 Gingivitis is a common and early form of gum disease that causes irritation and swelling of your gums around the base of your teeth.1 Although gingivitis is a fairly common form of gum disease, it is still serious and should be treated with care to prevent bigger problems with your oral health. If gum disease is not treated in the early stage it can progress and lead to infection in the gums and bone loss around the teeth. Teeth with little bone support can become loose and may eventually have to be extracted.2
How does gingivitis form?
Gingivitis most often forms as a result of poor oral hygiene. Brushing and cleaning in between your teeth regularly helps to keep your teeth and gums free of plaque. The bacteria in plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film that forms in the mouth, builds between the gums and teeth. When the bacteria begins to grow, the gums surrounding the teeth can become inflamed.3 Plaque re-forms rather quickly, so daily removal is required.1 Plaque that stays on your teeth can harden around and under your gumline and turn into tartar, which can only be removed through a professional dental cleaning.1
Symptoms of gingivitis
Learning about the symptoms of gingivitis is the best way to know what to look out for when maintaining your oral health. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your dental hygienist and take extra measures in caring for your gums. Listed below are some common symptoms of gingivitis.
A common sign of gingivitis is the bleeding of gum tissue, which can occur when brushing or flossing or when biting into a hard food like an apple.4 You may also experience bleeding of the gums during a routine teeth cleaning with your dental hygienist or if you brush too hard. Healthy gums do not bleed very frequently, so make sure you are taking special care of your gums if you notice any bleeding.
Bad breath is common and can be pretty embarrassing, but it can also stem from a deeper issue like gum disease. While bad breath can be caused by a number of factors, it can also be a symptom of gingivitis.1 Plaque is composed of bacteria that forms when sugars interact with bacteria that is normally found in your mouth.1 The foods you eat and plaque both build up in your mouth and on your tongue, causing bad breath. This can possibly be an indication of gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease.4
You may notice these symptoms on your own since they can be easily spotted in the mirror. Although these are common symptoms of gingivitis, there are other symptoms of gingivitis you can be on the lookout for.
Reversing and treating gingivitis
Many oral health problems are unforgiving and cannot be fixed, but thankfully the early stages of gingivitis can be prevented and treated with the right care.4 You can take measures on your own to help prevent gingivitis from forming by thoroughly brushing your teeth twice a day to get rid of plaque buildup. Using a toothpaste like parodontax Active Gum Repair, which contains an anti-gingivitis ingredient, stannous fluoride, helps reverse gingivitis by targeting plaque bacteria. Although brushing your teeth can get rid of plaque, the plaque that forms in between your teeth can be hard to reach with a toothbrush. You can remove the plaque that develops in between your teeth using an interdental cleaner such as dental floss. Scheduling an appointment with your dentist is a good way to treat and reverse gingivitis. The sooner you seek care, the better your chances of reversing damage from gingivitis.1