Gingivitis is probably the most well-known form of gum disease. In fact, it’s so well known that people tend to disregard it as a common, minor condition.
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums as a result of plaque bacteria buildup on the teeth and under the gum line. It is an early stage of gum disease and should be taken seriously. Without treatment, gingivitis will develop into a much more severe form of gum disease called periodontitis.
Symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Tender, painful gums
- Bleeding of gums while brushing and/or flossing
The easiest way to prevent gingivitis is to have a good oral hygiene routine. Visit your dentist regularly, meaning every six months, for a cleaning and check-up. Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day, every day, and floss daily. Limiting your intake of sugary and/or acidic foods will also help keep your teeth and gums healthy.
If caught early, your dentist will be able to treat gingivitis with a rigorous teeth cleaning and provide instructions for necessary at-home care. However, if ignored you may need a more serious form of treatment. The next level of treatment is scaling and root planning, which is where the dentist cleans the root surfaces underneath the gums to remove plaque and tartar. Sometimes, if the gingivitis is bad enough, it can require surgery as the only treatment.
If gingivitis is ignored and turns into periodontal disease, it can damage your gums and the bones that support your teeth. Periodontitis has also been linked to heart disease, strokes, diabetes and even cancer.
Brushing and flossing every day is a small price to pay for something as priceless as good health.