Gingivitis. If you don’t know the signs, it’s easy to miss until it’s too late. Put simply, Gingivitis is gum inflammation and generally comes before full-blown periodontitis, or gum disease. Not all cases of gingivitis, however, lead to gum disease, so make sure to visit your dentist, to keep your gums healthy!
Usually starting painlessly, Gingivitis has few indicators, some of which may be:
• Gums that bleed during and after tooth brushing or upon flossing
• Red, swollen, or tender gums
• Persistent bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
• Receding gums
• Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
• Loose, shifting, or misaligned teeth
• Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures.
Even if you don’t have any of these symptoms, you may still have gum disease, so make sure you regularly visit your dentist.
It’s especially good to visit your dentist for a check up if you have been ill or have had hormonal changes. Even changing medication, especially to one that causes dry mouth, can increase your risk of gingivitis.
Bad habits, such as smoking and general bad oral health practices, such as not flossing, also increase your risk. Also, check your family history since gingivitis and periodontitis are more frequent in people whose family has dealt with gum disease. In fact, the American Academy of Periodontology says that up to 30% of Americans may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.
In the meantime, before you meet with your dentist about your gums, here are some things you can do to increase your oral health and decrease your chances of gum disease:
• Stop smoking. Smokers are seven times more likely to get gum disease than nonsmokers, and smoking can lower the chances of success of some treatments.
• Minimize stress. Stress may make it difficult for your body's immune system to fight off infection.
• Eat healthily. Eating foods with antioxidants can help your body get over an infection.
• If you clench or grind your teeth, get fitted for a mouth-guard. Grinding and clenching can put force on supporting teeth, which can increase gum damage.
And don’t forget to brush and floss your teeth! Removing plaque daily is one of the best ways to keep your gums and teeth happy and healthy.
American Academy of Periodontology.
American Dental Association.