When plaque and bacteria build up in your mouth for a while, your gums may get infected, which can, in turn, lead to an early form of gum disease known as gingivitis. While you may not experience any severe symptoms at first, gingivitis will cause your gums to turn red and swell up, and they may start to feel tender and irritated. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more severe gum diseases, such as periodontitis. In some cases, it can also lead to tooth loss.
Unfortunately, gingivitis is more common than you may think. Most adults over the age of 30 have experienced a form of gum disease. Studies suggest that men are more likely to develop gum disease, although it is still unclear why that is. Smokers are also more prone to gum disease, as smoking undermines the body’s ability to combat infection. There are also a lot of other possible factors, such as vitamin C deficiency (and poor nutrition generally. Other factors include medical causes resulting from conditions that affect the immune system, viral infections, fungal infections, certain prescription drugs, hormonal changes and genetics.
In the early stage of gingivitis, your gums will start bleeding, especially when you brush and floss your teeth. While this is a sign of bacterial infection, there shouldn’t be any irreversible tissue or bone damage. It would help if you looked out for the following signs of gum disease such as swollen gums, dark red gums, bad breath and, as mentioned earlier, bleeding.
We recommend that you call your dental office and schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as you have a chance. After examining your gums, your dentist may have to take x-rays to ensure that the bone has not been affected. Depending on how severe the symptoms are and how long you’ve experienced them, your dentist may refer you to a periodontist or a gum disease specialist. Keep in mind that it is possible to reverse the effects of gingivitis and not just prevent its progression into a more severe form of gum disease. The most common treatment will be a thorough cleaning; to get rid of plaque and tartar buildup. You may also need to get your teeth scaled to remove any bacteria underneath the gums. If you previously had dental restorations, your dentist may need to remove or readjust dental crowns and dental bridges and take a look at the state of any fillings. Lastly, your dentist may prescribe an antimicrobial mouth rinse so you can get rid of any remaining bacteria.
The best thing you can do is maintain good oral hygiene and attend your dental clinic regularly for cleaning and check-ups. It is essential that you brush at least twice a day. Floss and rinse your mouth to prevent plaque from building up and eventually turning into tartar, which will stick around your gum line. Contact us to schedule your dental visit today.