Gingivitis- an early form of Gum Disease

inflamed gums

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an early form of gum disease.  It is caused by plaque and retained bacteria when proper oral hygiene like brushing and flossing is not performed correctly.  Plaque is a colorless substance or film of bacteria that builds up around the gumline and is easily removed with daily brushing and flossing.  Plaque causes cavities because of the acid contained in it.  When the plaque is not removed daily, it hardens into tartar.  How do you prevent this?

Tartar is a yellow, hard and crusty……and can only be removed by a dental professional (lucky us!).  Both plaque and tartar cause gingivitis, a bacterial infection of the gums.  Gum disease from gingivitis can also lead to more serious issues such as periodontal disease, bone loss or an abscess.  Gingivitis knows no age and believe it or not, it is often found in children as well.

Brush and floss twice a day to keep a healthy smile, because sharing a smile is the best way to heal the world

Do you need to floss everyday?

The short answer is yes.  Remember when the media said that it’s no longer important to floss?  When gingivitis is chronic (over 6 months), it leads to periodontal disease.  Watch this video on gingivitis and periodontal disease.

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Signs of Gingivitis

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding when brushing
  • Bad breath (Halitosis)
  • Bleeding when flossing
  • Irritations like popcorn or food impactions

How do I get rid of Gingivitis?

First, you have to see a dental professional (like Dr. Angart!) to diagnose that what you are experiencing is in fact gingivitis.  Then, a professional cleaning by a registered dental hygienist is necessary to remove the toxins, plaque and bacteria that are causing the gingival inflammation.  Within 24 hours of a professional prophylaxis (fancy word for dental cleaning), your gums should be back to normal.  If you still experience the gingivitis symptoms, then you may have some periodontal disease that will need further therapy.

In the meantime, until you can see a dental professional—START FLOSSING EVERYDAY!  You can also use a Waterpik and a soft bristle toothbrush to start removing plaque.  Normally, if it bleeds, you are just stimulating the swollen tissue and aren’t hurting yourself.

Call us today at 614-775-0840 if you are concerned about your gingival health.

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