How Do You Know You Have Gingivitis?

Gingivitis marks the initial phase of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. It arises when a buildup of plaque, tartar, and bacteria occurs on your teeth, resulting in red, swollen gums and prone to bleeding. Gingivitis can be effectively controlled, particularly with the assistance of a dental professional. However, if left unaddressed, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease characterized by bone loss in the jaw.

Most Common Signs of Gingivitis

Symptoms of gingivitis may not be readily apparent during its initial phases, making it possible to have the condition without immediate awareness. As the disease progresses over time, you might experience:

  • Persistent bad breath that lingers even after brushing.
  • Gums that easily bleed, especially during tooth brushing.
  • Gums that appear red and swollen.
  • Increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods.
  • Tenderness or discomfort when chewing food.

Main Causes of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the body’s natural response to inflammation caused by plaque,tartar, and bacteria on the teeth. When plaque and tartar accumulate on the teeth for an extended period, it can lead to gum irritation, causing redness and swelling.

Individuals may have a heightened risk of developing gingivitis if they…

  1. Are pregnant or experiencing hormonal shifts affecting oral health.
  2. Do not maintain proper oral hygiene or have misaligned teeth that are challenging to clean.
  3. Have diabetes.
  4. Have a family history of gum disease.
  5. Engage in smoking or tobacco use.

Additionally, certain prescribed and over-the-counter medications can diminish saliva production, resulting in a dry mouth condition known as xerostomia. Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral cleanliness; a decrease in its flow can contribute to developing gingivitis.

Diagnosis

If you’re experiencing symptoms of gingivitis, it’s advisable to schedule a dental checkup. During the examination, your dentist will assess your oral health, looking for indications like bleeding signs of infection such as redness and swelling, loose teeth, and gum recession. Dental X-rays can reveal any impact on the underlying jawbone if gum disease is suspected. Sometimes, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in treating gum diseases.

Treatment

The treatment for gingivitis primarily focuses on controlling the infection and restoring the health of your teeth and gums. Your dentist or periodontist will thoroughly clean to eliminate harmful bacteria, plaque, and tartar. Other approaches for addressing gingivitis encompass enhanced oral hygiene, antimicrobial mouthwash, and dental restoration. A dentist may address issues such as repairing or removing crowns, fillings, or bridges that protrude or do not fit properly, as smoother surfaces are easier to maintain and keep clean.

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