Most of us have heard of “gingivitis”… It’s something dentists and toothpaste/mouthwash commercials are always talking about. What is it, though? What does it mean? How do you get it—or stop it?? Well fret not, your questions will be answered if you keep reading!
So, what IS gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease. It will be the first sign before you develop periodontitis, (a more severe form of gum disease resulting in tooth loss.) When you don’t keep up with your dental hygiene, plaque forms on your teeth… Left alone, this sticky substance will harden into tartar. Tartar acts like a cement shield to all the bacteria leftover on your teeth and is very difficult to remove without the help of a professional dentist. When tartar and plaque are allowed to build up over time, bacteria festers and multiplies at the “gingiva” where the base of your gums meets your teeth. This results in the development of gingivitis.
The symptoms of gingivitis may include:
- irritation and/or swelling of the gums
- bad breath
- swollen and tender gums
- bleeding and/or receding gums.
It’s very important to keep up with dental hygiene and regular dental visits to avoid getting gingivitis. Your dentist will make sure your gums are as healthy as they should be, checking that they are a light pink color and tightly fit around the base of each of your teeth.
Some things that may contribute to your chances of getting gingivitis are: smoking and/or chewing tobacco, poor dental hygiene, old age, dry mouth, a vitamin C deficiency, crooked teeth that are hard to clean around, hormonal changes, and a compromised immune system.
If you are diagnosed with gingivitis, your dentist will give you the proper home care regimen info as well as treating you themselves. Just be sure to follow their instructions carefully and don’t self-diagnose!
I hope this has been informative for you! Always remember to keep up with personal dental health as well as maintaining regular dentist visits!