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When Gingivitis Strikes: Preventing This Dental Disease from Taking a Hold of Your Teeth


There are so many dental diseases you obtain when you don’t take quality care of your teeth. But there is a silent threat to your oral health, and its name is gingivitis. It is known as a quiet disease because it tends to sneak up on you when you least expect it. Gingivitis prevention is the perfect defense against this disease ready to infect your smile. You wouldn’t want your smile to be infested with bleeding gums or not enjoy ice cream due to the increased tooth sensitivity gingivitis brings with it. The most obvious technique for prevention is to stay alert for the signs of the periodontal disease and keep up with your daily dental routine, along with regular dental visits.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes redness, swelling, and discomfort in the gum areas. As a standalone disease, gingivitis is mild but if left untreated, the condition becomes more dangerous, leading to gum diseases such as periodontitis, and later, tooth loss. In the realm of oral diseases, few are more common and irritating than gingivitis.

Common causes of gingivitis

The most common cause of gingivitis is a patient possessing poor oral hygiene. The symptoms are most evident within the gums themselves. Healthy gums are characterized by a firm and pale pink appearance. If the case of gingivitis, gums are dark red and puffy, recede, and are prone to bleeding easily. Those affected by gingivitis also experience the symptoms of bad breath. Despite the physical changes, however, gingivitis is not characterized as being sensitive or painful, outside of some tenderness.

One of the largest factors that accelerates gingivitis is plaque, which is a sticky translucent white film that is comprised of bacteria. Plaque is the result of foods that contain starches and sugars interacting with bacteria found inside a patient's mouth. While a regular routine (at least twice a day) of brushing one's teeth and flossing is important to this removal, a regular oral care schedule is necessary as plaque can reform on teeth within 24 hours.

Plaque involvement

Plaque needs to be removed from teeth daily because of prolonged exposure to teeth causes it to harden and form into tartar, otherwise known as calculus.  

Tartar is difficult to remove (requiring a professional dental cleaner or exam to scrape tartar) as it creates a retaining shield for bacteria, keeping the harmful properties to eat away at teeth and cause decay. Even if teeth are kept clean, saliva also creates plaque due to its high mineral content, which continues to wear away at teeth.

Signs of gingivitis

While it is a silent disease, there are still clear signs this disease has taken over your teeth health. Gums affected by gingivitis display a number of noticeable symptoms:

  • Bad breath, also known as "halitosis"
  • Changes in gum coloration from pink to red
  • Gum issues including bleeding, irritation, puffiness, recession, redness, softness, swelling, tenderness, and increased sensitivity

Gums tend to bleed more easily during brushing and flossing as demonstrated through a reddish discoloration on the toothbrush.

Silent symptoms

Because of these milder symptoms, people may not immediately notice a problem with their gums or may dismiss it as a minor condition. The first symptoms of gingivitis are the addition of plaque on the teeth. If left untreated, gingivitis leads to severe gum diseases and eventually, tooth loss.

While poor oral health habits are the largest culprit for this disease, there are other conditions such as age, nutrition habits, medical conditions such as diabetes, a decreased immune system, viral or fungal infections, hormonal changes, tobacco or substance abuse, or certain medications.

Your Guide to Gingivitis Prevention

If the signs and symptoms have made you fearful of this disease, it’s time to take charge to prevent this periodontal disease from invading your mouth. Taking action against gingivitis helps your mouth stay healthy, and your smile stay beautiful.

Fortunately, gingivitis is easily treatable if caught and treated early. For that reason, dentists recommend that patients schedule regular checkups to identify oral issues such as gingivitis, tooth decay, cavities and other dental conditions before more severe problems manifest.

Even if you're not one hundred percent sure it is gingivitis, check for any abnormalities or discoloration in the teeth and gum lines by scheduling a dentist appointment. Not only is regular oral maintenance a good practice, but it also helps to reverse harmful conditions such as gingivitis.

Practice good habits

It is essential to practice good habits such as abstaining from tobacco products and drug abuse, eating properly, keeping aware of hormonal changes that can change body chemistry, and maintaining a proper and healthy diet. Factors may include age and diabetes, as well as the effects that certain medications may cause so ensure dental fixtures fit properly.

Have a terrific daily dental routine

Simple regular care is always the best resource. Brushing teeth and flossing at least twice a day provides a great preventative measure. Good oral health habits, such as cleaning at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups, can help prevent gingivitis, as well as the development of other symptoms.

Set up routine dental check-ups

By being a smart patient, and taking regular care of oneself, preventing symptoms such as gingivitis can be as natural as brushing your teeth. A dentist can help to discuss treatment options while suggestion options for self-care at home between appointments to restore teeth back to their original and healthier state.

Your Dentist at Cabrillo Family Dental Care is on Your Team for the Gingivitis Fight

Setting up an appointment with the periodontist in Pacifica, CA to learn techniques to prevent gingivitis from occurring. Our caring staff will make it their goal to help you avoid periodontal diseases. Schedule an appointment with us today!