Gingivitis: Causes, Signs & Symptoms
If you’ve noticed that your gums are sore, a bit red, or even that they bleed during or after brushing or flossing, don’t ‘brush’ it off. You might be suffering from gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease.
Most Australians suffer from gingivitis at some time in their lives, and its mild (or even non-existent) symptoms make it easy to ignore.
But without treatment, gingivitis can cause much bigger issues for your mouth.
The good news is that gingivitis can be prevented or even reversed by good oral hygiene – by simply brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and keeping to regular dental cleanings and check-ups at DentArana!
Let’s take a look at gingivitis, its symptoms, and what we can do, together, to fight it.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, which sets in if plaque, a naturally-occurring gooey film containing bacteria, is allowed to build up on teeth and gums and inflame surrounding gum tissue. Plaque excretes toxins that irritate the gums. This can lead to inflamed gums that become red or puffy, in some cases causing them to bleed. If gingivitis is not treated, it can lead to far worse conditions such as periodontitis, infection, and even lost teeth.
Signs & Symptoms
Gum disease often slips under the radar as it can be painless. Signs to look for include:
- Swollen, red, purple, or sensitive gums
- Gums that bleed during or after brushing or flossing
- Receding gums
- Chronic bad breath or ongoing bad taste in your mouth
- Teeth that have become loose
- Alteration in how your teeth meet
- Changes in the fit or feel of partial dentures
- Pus in and around the teeth and gums
Causes Of Gingivitis
The most common cause of gingivitis, by a large margin, is poorly practised home oral hygiene that allows plaque to form. Plaque develops on your teeth as the starches and sugars in food are consumed by the bacteria that normally occur in your mouth. This means that standard good dental habits are the best line of defence. Proper brushing and flossing your teeth removes plaque. Plaque must be removed every day as it forms extremely quickly, often within 24 hours.
Plaque that remains on your teeth for prolonged periods of time can form under your gumline into tartar (calculus). Tartar provides a kind of defence for plaque, making it more difficult to remove. Tartar also builds a protective shield for bacteria. In most cases you can’t remove tartar at home— you need a dental cleaning at DentArana to remove it.
If plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, they continue to irritate you gingiva, the section of your gums that wrap around the base of your teeth. This leads to inflammation, bleeding, and more serious complications up to and including eventual tooth loss!
Risk Factors For Gingivitis
The following are typical risk factors for gingivitis:
- Insufficient dental hygiene
- Use of tobacco products of any kind
- Crooked teeth
- Broken or cracked fillings
- Some medications
- Dental appliances that fit poorly
- Hormonal changes – These can cause greater gum sensitivity and make it easier for inflammation to take place
- Genetic susceptibility –some people are more prone to severe disease of the gums
- Decreased immunity as the result of systemic diseases like diabetes or HIV/AIDS
- Diabetes – There is a great risk for infections developing in people that have diabetes. This includes disease of the gums.
Prevention of Gingivitis
Gingivitis may be prevented or defeated using simple preventative measures:
- Brush your teeth, gums, and tongue daily. Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day. Upon awakening, at night, and after meals if possible.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is less likely to damage teeth or gums, and don’t brush too hard, which can actually damage teeth. Replace your toothbrush every three months, or after illnesses like the flu.
- Use a toothpaste with fluoride.
- Do not snack in the middle of the night.
- Chew on gum after snacking.
- Floss at least once daily.
- Rinse with an effective mouthwash – DentArana can help you make a good choice.
- Visit DentArana at least once every six months for cleaning and examination to keep gingivitis away.
- Avoid sweet foods, tobacco products, and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or using recreational drugs.
- Be aware of additional risk factors. Ageing, smoking, diet and genetics can increase the likelihood of gingivitis. If you have an increased risk factor, be sure to talk with DentArana about it.
DentArana Is Your Partner In Health
DentArana provides Family Dentistry in Arana Hills. Our goal is to make quality dental care affordable, and help you achieve maximum oral and overall health! DentArana can help you with all your dental needs, from clean and scales to bridges and dentures. We offer late and Saturday hours!
New Patients Specials
- Pay No Gap: NO GAP for Exam, Clean and Scale (with any health insurance) for under 17
- No Health Insurance: Only $99 for Exam, Clean and Scale (under 17’s)
Call (07) 3351 3366 or visit us at Shop 5 Patricks Place, Corner Dawson Parade and Patricks Road in Arana Hills.