What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common periodontal
disease where gums become inflamed, tender, and swollen. Symptoms of gingivitis
- bleeding or swollen gums
- redness in the gums
- gum tenderness
- mouth sores
- bad breath
- gums with a shiny appearance
Gingivitis is often so mild and
painless that you may not even notice it. However, the condition can lead to
much more serious periodontal diseases later on. Any sign of a potential
problem should be addressed with your dentist. The sooner your dentist
diagnoses gingivitis, the better your chances are of reversing any damage done
to your gums and teeth.
Causes and Risk Factors
Gingivitis is caused by plaque deposits
in the mouth. Plaque builds up if you don’t brush or floss your teeth
regularly. A combination of food debris, mucus, bacteria, and plaque also
causes tooth decay and can lead to other tooth and gum problems as well.
Conditions or other factors that increase the risk of gingivitis include:
- common cold and flu
- use of birth control pills
- other dental problems
Prevention and Treatment Options
Gingivitis can be avoided through
proper oral hygiene like brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.Anti-plaque or anti-tartar toothpastes help in keeping
plaque deposits from causing gingivitis.
Professional teeth cleanings help decrease
the risk of gingivitis. Following the cleaning, gums may be more sensitive and
inflamed. That normally subsides in a few weeks. Antiseptic mouthwash or
rinsing with warm salt water aids in reducing inflammation.
Many people have a mild form of
gingivitis with few adverse health effects. However, the disease can lead to
periodontitis if left untreated. Periodontitis is a serious gum disease that
can result in tooth loss or even an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
Pregnant women should be extra careful because periodontitis increases their
risks of delivering a baby prematurely.