What is Gingivitis and How Do You Prevent it?
Have you ever gone to the dentist, expecting an average cleaning when they mention the “g” word?
Did you shudder at that word? Don’t worry. You and the rest of the world that gets regular dental cleanings. But you don’t have to worry!
Although gingivitis can cause gum disease, the best way to prevent it is to be aware of what it is and how you can fight against it. So how exactly do you do that?
Well, we’re glad you’ve asked. We’ve put together a blueprint that’ll explain how to prevent gingivitis and what it is exactly. With this knowledge, you’ll never have to shutter at the “g” word ever again.
What Exactly is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the beginning stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis occurs when bacteria and plaque layer onto the teeth and gums, thus causing an inflammation of the gums (gingiva).
Types of Gingivitis
There are two main types of Gingivitis.
Dental Plaque-Induced Gingival Disease.
This type of gingival disease can be caused by plaque build-up (hence “plaque-induced”), malnutrition, medications or systemic factors.
Non-Plaque Induced Gingival Lesions
This type of gingivitis has a few more possible causes and sometimes there’s no clear and specific cause.
This specific strain of gingivitis can be caused by genetic factors, allergic reactions, reactions to foreign bodies (dentures for example) or certain illnesses.
How Do You Get Gingivitis?
The reason dentists emphasize over and over the importance of brushing your teeth is that brushing your teeth gets rid of plaque. Plaque is all of the bacteria, leftover food and any other debris that might be left behind.
The act of brushing one’s teeth alleviates all of this unnecessary bacteria.
The most common reason people get gingivitis is that of an accumulation of bacteria between the teeth and gums. In short, if you don’t brush your teeth then plaque will build on the surface.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
What are some of the symptoms of gingivitis?
Tender, swollen and bleeding gums are the most common symptoms of someone with gingivitis. If a person has terrible breath, they could possibly have gingivitis.
Food and bacteria have lodged between their teeth and stuck over time. It’s only a matter of time before that starts to formulate a particular and uneasy odor.
Another symptom to watch out for is discolored gums. If you notice bright purple or red gums, there’s a possibility of gingivitis.
How to Prevent Gingivitis?
There are a few key ways that you can work to prevent gingivitis.
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once. The typical rule of thumb, when it comes to brushing your teeth, is once in the morning and once at night.
When deciding on the right toothbrush for you, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush that won’t increase irritation of the gums. If you can spring for an electric toothbrush, do it! These are widely recommended by dentists but aren’t absolutely essential to prevent gingivitis.
When you floss, wrap the floss around the sides of the tooth in a back-and-forth motion.
Another way to prevent gingivitis is to see a dentist every six months for a regular cleaning.
These frequent visits to professionals can prevent gingivitis by removing that hard-to-get plaque and calculus. In these cleanings, the hygienists can topically apply a fluoride treatment.
Fluoride is similar to calcium for teeth. It builds up strength and resistance toward plaque and bacteria.
On the topic of calcium, another way to improve your dental hygiene and prevent gingivitis is to improve your diet. Work to add more calcium into your diet with foods like almonds, yogurt, broccoli, and spinach.
The last suggestion for preventing gingivitis is to use mouthwash on a daily basis. With all of these steps combined, mouthwash is like the cherry on top and the last sweep to kill any surviving bacteria.
Other Risk Factors
While this type of gingivitis is non-destructive, that doesn’t mean that you can ignore or avoid this issue. If Gingivitis is not taken care of this type of periodontal disease can escalate to the immune response of periodontitis.
When gingivitis has escalated to this level, your jaw bone and tissue become incredibly week and can lead to your teeth falling out.
If that doesn’t seem bad enough, periodontitis can lead to heart failure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, premature aging and hormonal imbalances.
It’s crazy to think that a lack of dental hygiene can cause that severe of a problem but in the long term, having good dental hygiene can add years onto your life.
If Not Dealt With
If not removed, the plaque collects and hardens into calculus and adds an eerie yellowish color to your teeth. The hard calculus can be uncomfortable to live with and can be professionally removed.
If calculus has already taken form, it’ll irritate the gums and cause inflammation. This is when the body will sound the alarm.
To the body, this constant irritating calculus means that something isn’t right in the mouth region and action needs to be taken.
With the combination of the body’s response to inflammation and the bacteria releasing toxins, gingivitis can quickly affect other parts of the body. This inflammation can cause the gums to bleed and experience tenderness.
Prioritize Those Pearly Whites
Gingivitis is a very real gum disease that can wreak havoc on your mouth if left unchecked.
But that doesn’t have to be the case!
With all of this information, we hope that you’re feeling more confident about your understanding of the disease and how to prevent it. If you notice symptoms start to arise in yourself or others, you’ll know what to do.
You can now share this information and help spread awareness of how to prevent gingivitis. If you’ve read all of this and are still feeling stumped, feel free to reach out!
We’d love to help better explain gum disease, what to look for, how to prevent it and how to cure it.
Now you know everything about keeping your pearly whites pearly!