What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It involves the initial stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat. The direct cause of gingivitis is plaque bacteria (transparent, sticky film that constantly forms on the teeth and gums). If not removed daily plaque with brushing and flossing, the bacteria responsible for gingivitis accumulates. These bacteria produce toxins (poisons) that irritate the gum tissue, causing gingivitis.
At this early stage of the disease, the damage can be reversed, since the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth have not yet been affected. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can become periodontitis and cause permanent damage to your teeth and jaw.
How do I know if I have gingivitis?
Classic signs and symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen, tender gums that may bleed when brushed.
When gingivitis progresses to periodontitis, the gums begin to recede and the teeth removed, giving them an elongated appearance. Then begin to form pockets between teeth and gums, plaque and more aggressive germs and food debris accumulates. Some people may experience recurring bad breath or bad taste even when the disease is not advanced.
How I can prevent gingivitis?
Proper oral hygiene is essential. Professional cleanings are also extremely important because once plaque hardens and accumulates, or become tartar, only a dentist or hygienist can remove it.
You can help stop gingivitis before it develops as follows:
- Proper brushing and proper flossing to remove plaque, food debris and control tartar buildup
- Eating right to ensure proper health of your jaw and teeth
- Avoid snuff
- Scheduling regular checkups with your dentist