Have you noticed problems like bleeding gums or chronic bad breath? These can be signs of gingivitis – which is the first stage of gum disease. Now’s the time to address this problem so it doesn’t turn into something more damaging (and costly). How do you treat gingivitis, and is it reversible? Here’s information about this condition and how to nip it in the bud.
What Is Gingivitis?
Your teeth are the stars of your smile. However, your gums play a vital role by holding your teeth in place and providing a protective seal against bacteria.
If bacteria are allowed to build up on the teeth and gums, this can result in gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. Along with bad breath, you may notice that your gums are tender, and they may bleed easily when you brush your teeth.
Is Gingivitis Serious?
Gingivitis is generally considered mild. However, if it is left untreated, it may develop into a more serious condition known as periodontal disease (also called gum disease), which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Periodontal disease happens when the gums and bone that support the teeth become inflamed and infected. Not only does periodontal disease affect your oral health, but it is also a risk factor for heart and lung diseases.
How Can You Stop Gingivitis?
You probably can’t see it with the naked eye, but a sticky layer of plaque forms on your teeth every day from eating and drinking sugary or starchy foods. Brushing and flossing can help remove plaque. However, if plaque is left to linger, it can turn into a hard substance called tartar, which must be removed by a dental professional.
In order to stop the buildup of plaque and tartar that can cause gingivitis, it’s important to keep your teeth clean by:
- Brushing twice a day
- Flossing once a day
- Seeing the dentist regularly
- Avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco
How is Gingivitis Diagnosed?
While gingivitis can cause the symptoms described above, some people may not realize they have it. Dental professionals can diagnose gingivitis in a number of ways, including:
- Visual exams of your mouth and gums
- Dental X-rays
- Measuring the pocket depth of the grooves between your gums and teeth
- Other tests as needed
Can Gingivitis Be Reversed?
The good news is that gingivitis is reversible with good hygiene and regular dental care. If you have concerns, talk with your dentist about steps you can take to keep your teeth clean.
For many people, getting dental cleanings twice a year works well to maintain their oral health. In other cases, more frequent dental cleanings or specialized periodontal care may be recommended.
Periodontal Care in Middlesex County, MA
At Periodontal Associates, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. Our services also include dental implants, computer-guided surgery, full-mouth restoration, and laser dentistry. If you have questions about your gum health or wish to schedule an appointment, call us today at (508) 875-6185 for our Framingham office or (617) 964-6185 for our Newton Centre office.