Gum disease, or periodontal disease, tends to start small. However, it can be a big problem if it is allowed to progress. In its earliest stages, it’s known as gingivitis, and it’s generally reversible. What if you miss the sometimes subtle warning signs and fail to seek out effective gingivitis treatment? Without care, periodontitis can develop. This advanced form of gum disease can cause tooth loss and permanent damage to the gums and nearby bones.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Plaque is an invisible, sticky film that forms on the surfaces of teeth when the mouth’s natural bacteria interact with certain foods. If plaque is not removed with daily brushing, it hardens into tartar. Tartar collects bacteria and irritates and inflames the tissues along the gum line, causing gingivitis. If left unchecked, periodontitis results, so it’s vital that you seek out the appropriate gum disease treatment if you suspect that you have a problem.
Recognizing Symptoms of Gingivitis
The first step in treating gingivitis is recognizing it. Unfortunately, it’s easy to miss since this common condition tends to be relatively painless and offers only mild warning signs. Gingivitis symptoms include bad breath, sensitive teeth, gum pain, and swollen or bleeding gums. Reddened or receding gums can also be a warning sign of gingivitis.
Are you at risk of gingivitis?
Everyone is, but if you are experiencing any of these signs of gingivitis, you might be more vulnerable:
- Dry mouth
- Poor nutrition
- Tobacco use
- Ineffective oral care (yes, there is a correct way to brush and floss your teeth)
- Crooked, overlapping or tight teeth that make cleaning a challenge
- Improperly fitted dental restorations
- Pregnancy and other conditions that involve hormonal fluctuations
- Medical conditions that lower immunity
- Certain viral or fungal infections
- Some medications
- Older age
Is gingivitis curable? It depends. Stopping gingivitis in its tracks is key to averting more severe troubles. As in any progressive disease, early diagnosis and treatment will minimize the need for more severe treatment down the road.
- How do you treat gingivitis? If the gum disease is caught early enough, merely eliminating the tartar will do the trick. This requires professional cleaning and scaling to remove the tartar.
- Can a prescription treat gingivitis? If gingivitis is already advanced, your dentist can prescribe medication as part of your treatment plan. Of course, this is in addition to professional cleaning.
- Is surgery an option for gingivitis treatment? Yes, only in very severe cases. Consult with your dentist if you think the only option for your gingivitis is surgery.
- What if misaligned teeth or poorly fitted dental restorations are contributing to the gum issues? The dentist may suggest correcting them. They’ll also offer advice about ongoing care to prevent gingivitis from recurring.
How can you prevent gingivitis?
A good oral hygiene routine that includes daily brushing and flossing is a good start. For the best results, combine healthy eating habits that prioritize nutrients and limit sugar. Schedule a dental exam for regular checkups and cleanings are also vital to preventing gingivitis and keeping any other oral health issues in check.
At Wekiva Dental, we know the difference that a beautiful, healthy smile can make. Our goal is always to deliver top-notch dental care for our patients. That’s why our friendly team offers an extensive array of dental services and products. To learn more about our services, contact us today at 407-869-7333 to schedule an appointment.