Gingivitis is a common form of gum disease that causes inflamed gums. It is a very common condition that affects more than 3 million Americans a year. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to peridontitis, which is a more serious condition that can result in tooth loss.
Gingivitis occurs because films of bacteria, known as plaque, accumulate on the teeth. The result is red and puffy gums that frequently bleed when you brush your teeth. You may also notice that your gums have pulled away from your teeth or that there is a change in how your teeth fit together. Other symptoms include pain when chewing, sensitive teeth, and foul smelling breath.
If you need to receive treatment for gingivitis, your dentist can use several techniques to clean out tartar. Scaling is the process of removing plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line. Your dentist may also recommend some medications, like an antibiotic mouthwash to help disinfect the mouth. In more severe cases, you may need surgery to correct any damage.
Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gingivitis, which includes longer and more frequent brushing, as well as flossing. In some cases, gingivitis may be so mild that you don’t even know you have it. However, it is still good to speak to your dentist about it.
Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly to avoid developing gingivitis.