Every time you turn the TV on doesn’t there seem to be some commercial on the air all about ‘gingivitis‘ and ‘gum disease’ solutions? Clearly, this is a considerable problem for our nation but do you actually know what it is and how to prevent it? Let’s break it down.
What Is Gingivitis?
Today, we know that many signs and symptoms of many life-threatening diseases appear in the mouth first. Research has identified periodontal (gum) disease as a risk factor for heart and lung disease, diabetes, premature, low birth weight babies and a number of other conditions.According to the CDC, in the U.S., nearly half the population (47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older) have some form of periodontal (gum) disease.
The first stage of periodontal disease is called gingivitis. Left untreated, gingivitis may advance to periodontitis, where plaque and toxins spread below the gum line. Worst-case periodontitis is evidenced by separation of the gums from the teeth, followed by loosening and potential loss of teeth.
What Are the Signs of Gingivitis?
Some of the typical signs of gingivitis, periodontitis and periodontal disease include:
- Red, swollen, bleeding gums
- Spaces or growing gaps between teeth
- Bad breath
- Tenderness and discomfort around the teeth and gums
- Loose teeth
You may not feel pain which is why the signs of gingivitis may be overlooked. At Premier Dental Care, we utilize a periodontal probe to gently measure the depth of the pockets or gaps around and between each tooth and the surrounding gums. The periodontal probe is a small dental instrument that causes no discomfort to the patient. The depth of these spaces are important to the diagnosis of periodontal disease because as the disease progresses, the pockets become deeper and filled with toxins that attack the teeth, bone structures, and surrounding tissue.
What Causes Gingivitis?
The most common causes are improper oral home care and improper technique. When brushing, flossing and rinsing don’t occur daily, leftover bacteria builds and forms a thick film known as plaque, which can lead to tartar and break down teeth over time.
Can I Prevent Gingivitis?
To ward off the signs and symptoms of periodontal disease,Dr. Bakhtyari recommends:
- Good oral hygiene that involves brushing and rinsing twice daily plus daily flossing
- A balanced diet
- Regular six-month dental check-ups
How Is Gingivitis Treated?
Don’t ignore the signs of gingivitis! The good news is that this early to mild stage of gum disease is preventable but if it goes untreated and ignored, gingivitis can develop into advanced stage gum disease (periodontitis), which is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
While some of the signs may seem harmless like irritated or swollen gums or a little blood after you brush or floss if these symptoms appear, make an appointment to check in with Dr. Bakhtyari to identify the cause and to get your teeth and gums assessed. Dr. Bakhtyari may recommend an improved daily home-care regimen for your teeth. If pockets of bacteria have formed around the teeth and gums are beginning to pull away from the teeth, a deep cleaning may be suggested.
If you have signs of gum disease, schedule an appointment with Dr. Bakhtyari and his team today.