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Signs of Gingivitis and How to Treat It

Dental exam tray with dental instruments and a gloved hand

Gingivitis is a type of disease related to the gums. Advanced gum infection is called periodontitis, and it often creates long-lasting problems, including damage to the soft tissue and bone supporting your teeth. It’s a disease that shouldn’t be taken lightly as it has major health repercussions. Dr. Barry Buchanan has been practicing general dentistry in Dallas for the last 34 years. Let’s explore his views on the risks of gingivitis and the best ways to treat the disease.

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the condition you suffer from when your gums, also called your gingiva, get inflamed. You can spot the condition by certain signs, described below.

  • Your gums appear and feel swollen and puffy
  • Your spot blood on your toothbrush or dental floss
  • Your mouth has a bad odor
  • Your gums appear dark red in color
  • You have receding gum lines (i.e., when the root surface of your teeth are exposed, owing to your gums pulling away from the surface of your teeth)

However, you may not be able to spot the early signs of gingivitis, though a good dentist can easily determine the onset of this disease.

How to Treat Gingivitis

Scheduling regular dentist visits for a cleaning and checkup should be enough to keep gingivitis at bay. The plaque and tartar buildup, which are the main culprits of gingivitis, are scraped away, leaving you with a bacteria-free mouth.

If your gums are already showing signs of developing gingivitis, the following methods can help resolve the issue:

  • Ensuring good, regular oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day, flossing your teeth at least once daily, and investing in a good antiseptic mouthwash to clean your tongue and mouth.
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. It’s best to avoid acidic foods and artificial sugars, which foster gingivitis. You need to ensure your Vitamin C intake is sufficient.
  • Keeping dry mouth syndrome at bay. There are several medications that cause dry mouth as a side effect. Luckily, there are mouth rinses that can be bought over the counter, like Biotene, which can help with this condition.
  • Scheduling a thorough dental evaluation. A good dentist can spot ill-fitting dentures and other restorative work carried out incorrectly (including crowns and bridges). These can lead to fungal or viral mouth infections, ultimately leading to gingivitis.

The Risks of Not Treating Gingivitis in a Timely Manner

It is not safe to leave gingivitis untreated, even at the early stages. Untreated gingivitis has a high chance of turning into periodontitis, which can lead you to lose your teeth, and worse, can cause heart disease.

Genetics plays a role in increasing the risk of developing gingivitis. Pre-existing conditions including diabetes, respiratory ailments, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery illness, and strokes are also risk factors. All these diseases increase bad bacteria in the body.

If you think you may be suffering from gingivitis or periodontal gum disease and need to schedule a thorough dental exam, call Dallas dentist Dr. Barry Buchanan today.