Gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, is an oral health issue that needs to be taken seriously. First, we’ll explain what gingivitis is, its common causes, and the risks associated with it. Then we’ll suggest a few tips to restore the health of your gums.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gum irritation and gum inflammation, known as gingivitis, is the most common form of gum disease. Indicators of gingivitis include bad breath and gums that are swollen, tender, abnormally red, and prone to bleeding.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Poor oral hygiene habits most commonly cause gingivitis. Therefore, if you don’t brush your teeth using fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes each time, floss at least once a day, and at least occasionally rinse with an alcohol-free anti-plaque/anti-gingivitis mouthwash, the bacteria in your mouth will accumulate into a sticky film called plaque on your teeth and along your gums. Plaque and its calcified cousin, tartar, cause gums to become irritated and inflamed. Moreover, other factors that contribute to gingivitis include tobacco products, medications that cause dry mouth, stress, hormonal changes from pregnancy or puberty, and a genetic predisposition.
What Are the Risks Associated with Gingivitis?
If its causes remain unaddressed, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis or severe periodontitis, the more advanced forms of gum disease. Periodontitis is a gum infection that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating small pockets that harbor bacteria and debris. If left treated, advanced gum disease can lead to chronic bad breath, loosening of teeth, tooth loss, bone loss, and even systemic complications such as an increased risk of acne, pneumonia, and heart disease.
How Can I Reverse Gingivitis?
To reverse the effects of gingivitis and to prevent a gum infection, you need to practice outstanding oral health habits. Embrace the following habits today to help keep your gums healthy:
- Gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes each time and floss at least once a day.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Regularly snack on fibrous fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and celery to stimulate blood flow in your gums and the production of saliva. Limit your consumption of foods and drinks high in sugar, which would feed the bacterial plaque in your mouth.
- Drink lots of water and chew sugar-free gum for at least 20 minutes after meals to stimulate saliva production, which washes away bacteria and food particles from your mouth.
- If you use tobacco products, we recommend quitting ASAP.
Keep Up with Your Biannual Dental Visits!
Additionally, come visit us at Toothology Dental for regular checkups and cleanings. During your exam, we’ll evaluate the health of your gums. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.