We’ve all heard of this dreaded condition and maybe wondered at some point if we have it. Did you know that over 50% of the population actually has some form of gingivitis? Unfortunately, most of us have had it at one point or another, likely without even realizing it. It sounds scary, but gingivitis has a broad range of mild to severe symptoms.
The definition of gingivitis is pretty straightforward. It is defined as inflammation of the gums. Therefore, any inflammation, whether mild or severe, localized or generalized, is classified as gingivitis. Unless you are diligent about your brushing and flossing routine, you will likely have some gum inflammation in your mouth. But not to fret, most of the time, this condition is highly treatable and won’t cause further damage to your teeth or gums with a few minor changes to your routine.
Gingivitis presents as red, puffy, inflamed gum tissues around your teeth. Your gums may be tenderer, and they may bleed when brushing or flossing. As stated earlier, gingivitis can range from mild to severe, so symptoms may be more pronounced in more severe cases. When left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, an inflammation of the ligaments and bone around your teeth. Gingivitis is reversible, while periodontitis is irreversible and causes permanent damage to oral structures. Signs and symptoms of periodontitis are gum recession, blunted gums between teeth, tooth mobility and even tooth loss.
Luckily, preventing gingivitis is reasonably straightforward, especially before it progresses into periodontitis! The most crucial factor is maintaining good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush (or electric toothbrush) and flossing at least once a day between teeth to remove bacteria. You can also add a daily mouth rinse to promote good gum health. Be sure to visit your dentist and dental hygienist routinely for check-ups and cleanings.
If you have any questions about gingivitis or believe you may have it, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a dental cleaning.