Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease and preventing it comes down to your oral hygiene routine. Our Delta Straight Smile dentists are here to explain more about prevention and treatment.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease) that causes irritation, redness and swelling (inflammation) of your gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. It's important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease called periodontitis and tooth loss.
What Causes Gingivitis?
The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. When plaque is allowed to build up on your teeth, it acts as a local irritant, and the body's response is to create inflammatory cells to fight that irritant. Inflammation means you'll see red puffy gums that may be sensitive and bleed slightly.
How Can Gingivitis Be Prevented?
The most crucial step in the prevention of gingivitis is proper oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing are essential in the removal of the plaque that causes gingivitis. Oral rinses can be helpful but not substitutes for the mechanical removal of plaque with a brush and floss. Cleanings with your dentist are also recommended on average two times per year.
Even if you have good oral hygiene skills, there are areas where plaque may still build up and require professional cleaning to remove. If plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth, it will harden and become tartar. Once this happens, tartar can not be removed by brushing and flossing and needs to be removed by your dentist or hygienist by scaling. If tartar doesn't get removed you will likely develop more serous forms of gum disease.
Other necessary preventive measures, of course, are not smoking and a healthy diet.
What Are Treatment Options For Gingivitis?
If you have developed gingivitis, the first step is to revamp your oral hygiene routine. Make sure that you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once. This will help remove plaque, which will reduce the irritation on your gums.
If your gums are bleeding more than normal, make sure to book a professional cleaning with your dentist to remove any built-up plaque and tartar.
For more serious forms of gum disease, our Delta Straight Smile dentists offer gingivectomy. Gingivectomy is a periodontal procedure that involves removing gum tissue in advance of root planing and scaling, and to prevent more serious dental issues.