What are gingivitis and gum disease?

What Are Gingivitis And Gum Disease? article banner

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease that can directly affect your oral health and overall health. Know the causes, recognize the symptoms and learn how to treat and prevent it.

What Causes Gingivitis and Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. This swelling is often caused by the build-up of plaque. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into a more severe form of gum disease, known as periodontitis, which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Gingivitis is often painless, so if you exhibit any signs or symptoms be sure to visit your dental professional for a proper assessment and to determine a course of treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis and Gum Disease

When gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets. Bacteria can then become trapped in these pockets, weakening the bone supporting the teeth. Make sure to see your dental professional immediately if you notice any of these signs and symptoms to receive a proper assessment.

What Causes Gingivitis and Gum Disease?

Gingivitis is commonly caused by the build-up of plaque. Plaque is an extremely sticky, colorless to pale yellow deposit of bacteria that regularly forms on your teeth.

The bacteria produce acids that attack your tooth enamel and can damage the gums. This damage has the possibility of becoming permanent if left untreated.

Other causes of gingivitis include hormonal changes, illnesses, smoking, taking certain medications, bad brushing habits, and genetics.

Treatment and Prevention of Gingivitis and Gum Disease

After proper diagnosis of gingivitis, it is important to start treating it immediately. Gingivitis is reversible, so visit your dental professional at the first signs of symptoms for a proper evaluation to decide the best course of treatment.

Here are some other tips for how to help treat and prevent gingivitis and gum disease.

  1. Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled manual or electric toothbrush.

  2. Be sure to use an anti-gingivitis and anti-plaque toothpaste containing fluoride to strengthen teeth and prevent the damage that bacteria in plaque causes.

  3. After brushing, rinse thoroughly with an anti-bacterial rinse to help fight plaque, gingivitis, and bad breath.

  4. Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque between teeth.

  5. Please note that your gums may continue to bleed for a period of time; however, it is important to keep brushing and flossing. Removing plaque is essential to improving gum health.