Keeping Gums Healthy Through Early Detection
The condition of your gums, also known as your gingival health, plays a significant role in your mouth’s overall health. At Abra Dental (formerly ChildSmiles•FamilySmiles), we understand the importance of maintaining your gingival health, which is why we offer gingival health assessments to monitor for gingivitis and other gum problems.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness, and inflammation of your gums. The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene, which allows plaque to form on your teeth. Plaque that remains on your teeth can harden into tartar, which can cause bacteria to accumulate along the gum line. The longer plaque and tartar stays on your teeth, the more they irritate the gums around the base of your teeth. This irritation can cause your gums to bleed easily and become inflamed, which can eventually lead to tooth decay and periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that can damage the soft tissue surrounding your teeth, eventually destroying the bones that support your teeth, which leads to tooth loss.
Along with inadequate oral health, some other causes of gingivitis are:
Fluctuations in your hormones may occur during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, and your menstrual cycle. During these times, your gingiva can experience increased sensitivity, heightening your risk of gum inflammation.
Diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, or HIV
These diseases hinder your body’s ability to fight infection, increasing your risk of developing gingivitis.
Certain Drugs or Medications
There are a variety of medications for medical conditions that can impact your oral health by reducing your saliva flow or causing abnormal growth of your gum tissue, which can lead to gum disease.
Your risk of gingivitis increases as you age.
A lack of essential nutrients, such as a deficiency in vitamin C, impairs the body from fighting against all different kinds of infection.
Individuals who have family members that have had gingivitis are at a higher risk of developing the disease.
Smoking or Tobacco Use
One of the greatest risk factors for gum disease is smoking tobacco products. Studies have indicated that smokers are seven times more likely to suffer from gum disease than people who do not use any tobacco products.
Fortunately, gingivitis is reversible and can be healed with the improvement of proper oral hygiene. Maintaining your oral hygiene can look like longer and more frequent brushing, using fluoride toothpaste, flossing consistently, and using an antiseptic mouthwash.
Symptoms of Gingivitis
Some symptoms that may indicate the presence of gingivitis include:
- Tender gums
- Bleeding from gums when you brush or floss
- Soft gums
- Bad breath
- Receding gums
- Bright red or purple gums
- Swollen or puffy gums
How to Prevent Gingivitis
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
To maintain good oral health, brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice every day. Ideally, brush in the morning and before you go to bed, but you can also brush after every meal. You should make sure to floss at least once a day to remove any food particles and bacteria from between your teeth and consistently rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash.
Visit Abra Dental Regularly
It is recommended to visit your dentist every six to 12 months so that a dental professional may remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and fix any dental problems such as crooked teeth, ill-fitting crowns or bridges. Dental professionals are also qualified to explain the importance of oral hygiene and how to brush and floss effectively. At Abra Dental, our dentists can recommend a suitable brush, toothpaste and mouthwash, as well as demonstrate the proper techniques for brushing and flossing.