While you know it’s important to take care of your teeth, it’s also essential to take care of your gums, since they secure and help protect your teeth. One of the most common conditions that affect the gums is gingivitis, which is a disease that causes inflammation and other dental health problems.
In this blog, experienced dentist Nabila Y. Mannan, D.D.S of Rainbow Dental, PC in Astoria, New York, explains what gingivitis is and goes over five signs that could indicate you have it.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis — also called periodontal disease — is the first stage of gum disease, and it causes inflammation, redness, and irritation of the gum tissue. If left untreated, it can worsen and develop into periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease, which can result in painful symptoms and tooth loss.
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, which can allow plaque to build up on teeth. However, other factors can lead to the development of gingivitis as well, such as using tobacco, consuming a poor diet, or taking certain medications.
5 signs of gingivitis
There are a number of signs of gingivitis. If you recognize any of these signs, you should get help as soon as possible. The sooner you get treatment, the easier the treatment will likely be, and the better your chances will be of preventing your condition from turning into periodontitis. Here are five of the most common signs.
1. Puffy or swollen gums
Healthy gums are a pale pink color, smooth, and firm. In gingivitis, the gums become irritated, swollen, and tender. These are signs of an infection, and if you notice them, you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
2. Bleeding gums
If you brush or floss too hard, you might experience a small amount of bleeding coming from your gums, but it should go away quickly. However, if your gums bleed very easily during normal brushing and flossing, it might be a sign of a more serious problem.
3. Bad breath
Sometimes you may get bad breath from eating pungent foods, such as garlic, or by forgetting to brush your teeth. However, chronic bad breath is often a sign of dental issues, including gingivitis. Infections in your gums can make it hard to keep your breath smelling good.
4. Receding gums
Your gums help keep your teeth in place, and they also create a seal around the bottoms of your teeth to help keep bacteria from reaching the roots of your teeth. One sign of gingivitis is receding gums, which can lead to further damage to your teeth and gums.
5. Loose teeth
If you have a loose tooth, it’s always important to get it checked out by a dentist. Loose teeth can be a sign of gum disease because an infection in your gums can cause the gum tissue to loosen over time.
What to do if you spot these warning signs of gingivitis
Although the sight of bleeding or red gums might be overwhelming, it’s important to remember that gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease — and the easiest form to treat. Here at Rainbow Dental, PC, we offer a variety of gingivitis treatments, including scaling and root planing. Scaling and root planing is a two-part process, and it’s sometimes called a deep cleaning. First, we remove plaque and tartar from below your gum line by scraping it away with a special tool called a scaler. Then, during root planing, we smooth out your tooth root to encourage your gums to reattach. Local anesthetics keep you comfortable during these gingivitis treatments.
Scaling and root planing is highly effective, but if your periodontal pockets are deep, you may also benefit from injected medication therapy. Injected medication, which can include antibiotics, delivers the medication you need directly at the site of your gum infection.
In addition to scaling and root planing and injected medication therapy, you can continue to promote healthy gums by:
- Scheduling regular dental cleanings
- Brushing your teeth twice a day for two full minutes
- Flossing once daily
- Using mouthwash (some are even formulated for gum health)
- Taking antibiotics (if prescribed) to treat current infections
If you notice any of these signs of gingivitis, we can help. We’ll give you a thorough evaluation and discuss your treatment options. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Rainbow Dental, PC today.