Gingivitis is an infection in the gums and the first stage of gum disease. If you live in the Midlothian or Richmond area and think you may be suffering from gingivitis, don’t worry – it is one of the most common oral health issues affecting adults and can be effectively treated.
However, when left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis or periodontal disease. Regular professional cleaning and healthy dental habits at home reduce the potential and harmful risks associated with gum disease. which can result in tooth loss.
The American Dental Association recommends two visits to your dental office each year for professional cleanings and thorough dental exam/checkup. At Vacca Family Dentistry, our dental professionals take every measure to thoroughly and gently clean your gums to avoid future concerns of gum disease.
What causes Gingivitis?
The primary cause of gingivitis is plaque buildup. If you’ve ever wondered why your dental hygienist regularly reviews proper brushing techniques or shares dental tips when you visit the office – this is why. Brushing your teeth regularly and properly can help remove plaque and keep harmful bacteria away. Plaque is colorless, sticky, and produces an acid that attacks the enamel on your teeth. This acid can lead to gum inflammation, damage, disease, and so often, tooth loss.
While plaque buildup is the most common cause of gingivitis, there are a few other potential culprits, including genetics, hormonal changes, medications, illnesses, and smoking.
How to keep Gingivitis away
You may be wondering how you can best keep gingivitis at bay. Fortunately, it is more than possible to take control of your gum health. Below are just a few tips:
1) Brush and floss the teeth two times per day. Brush once in the morning when you wake up and again before bedtime. Brushing regularly removes plaque buildup, bacteria, and keeps bad breath away.
2) Choose a high-quality toothbrush, even if it means spending a bit more, it’s well worth the investment. Many of our patients choose electronic toothbrushes versus manual because they’re simply more effective.
3) Use a fluoridated toothpaste. A pea-size amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush is ample for brushing. Make sure to follow up by flossing your teeth. And, use an antibacterial antiseptic mouthwash to fight plaque and bad breath.
4) Schedule the important routine dental visits twice a year with your dentist (for each person in the family.) Preventative care is the single best strategy to guard off gingivitis, gum disease, and any other dental or oral health concerns.
What are the signs of Gingivitis?
Healthy gums are firm and pale pink and should fit tightly around your teeth. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Swollen or puffy gums
- Dusky red or dark red gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
If you notice any signs and symptoms of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with our office. The sooner you seek care, the better your chances of reversing damage from gingivitis and preventing its progression to periodontitis.