What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the gums. It is regarded as a very common periodontal disease, with more than 200,000 new cases diagnosed every year. While not initially thought of as a serious condition, it is important to get gingivitis under control and reverse the disease before it turns into periodontitis, a more severe form of the periodontal disease.
The bacterial infection of gingivitis results from plaque build-up on the teeth, which is most often caused by poor oral hygiene. The following factors can also lead to the development of gingivitis:
- Brushing teeth with stiff bristles
- Open-mouth breathing
- Certain medications
- Dry mouth
- Smoking cigarettes
- Genetic factors
- Certain pre-existing conditions
- Type 2 Diabetes
Periodontitis is a periodontal disease that develops as the result of untreated gingivitis. Periodontitis, which is characterized by sore, swollen and bleeding gums, is much harder to treat than gingivitis and can have lasting impacts. In severe cases of periodontitis, the teeth may even fall out.
- Swollen gums
- Bright red or purple gums
- Gums that are tender or painful to the touch
- Bleeding gums or bleeding after brushing and/or flossing
- Bad breath
Your dentist can diagnose gingivitis based on a thorough oral examination of your teeth and gums. They will assess the plaque build-up on your teeth as well as any inflammation of your gums. They may also take x-rays of your mouth to check for early signs of periodontitis.
Treating gingivitis involves a major improvement in your oral hygiene. You must make sure that you are brushing your teeth at least twice daily and not using a toothbrush with stiff bristles. Medicated mouthwashes or mouthwashes with fluoride can also be effective in treating gingivitis and preventing the condition. Regular visits to your dentist for plaque removal are also essential in reversing and preventing gingivitis.