Gingivitis is a common periodontal disease that can affect anyone, regardless of age. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria in plaque and tartar buildup. This article will explain gingivitis, discuss the common causes and risk factors, and outline the steps you can take to prevent gingivitis.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
Common symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Redness or swelling of the gums.
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing.
- Bad breath.
- Tenderness when eating.
It’s important to note that there is often no pain or discomfort associated with early cases of gingivitis.
Common Causes and Risk Factors
Some of the most common causes and risk factors for developing gingivitis include poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing or flossing frequently enough; smoking; diabetes; hormonal changes during puberty, menopause, pregnancy, or menstruation; certain medications like steroids or seizure drugs; and genetics.
How to Diagnose Gingivitis
The diagnosis process for gingivitis typically begins with a physical exam by your dentist or dental hygienist, followed by x-rays to rule out any underlying issues. Your dentist may also take a saliva sample to check for bacteria levels and other potential infections in your mouth.
Treatment of Gingivitis
The primary treatment for mild to moderate cases of gingivitis is improving your brushing and flossing habits at home and getting regular cleanings from a dentist or dental hygienist (typically every six months). Other treatment options may include antibiotics if there are signs of infection in your mouth, prescription mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine gluconate (CHX), which helps reduce plaque buildup, and laser therapy, which kills bacteria in hard-to-reach areas.
Prevention of Gingivaltis
The best way to prevent gingivitis is practicing good oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice per day with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing daily, and eating healthy foods high in vitamins B-12 and C like yogurt, cheese, and leafy green vegetables which help keep gum tissue healthy, visiting your dentist regularly for checkups/cleanings every six months (or more often if needed), quitting smoking if applicable (smoking greatly increases your risk for developing gum disease), and changing your toothbrush more frequently – ideally every 3-4 months.
Small steps such as implementing good oral hygiene habits, visiting the dentist regularly, eating healthy foods, quitting smoking if applicable, and changing our toothbrush more frequently can all help reduce our chances of developing this condition. Following these tips can help keep yourself safe from gum disease!