What Is Gingivitis?

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You may have seen commercials for toothpastes and mouthwashes that claim that they reduce the chances of you developing gingivitis. But what exactly is this all-too-common, early-stage gum disease?

What Causes Gingivitis?

Plaque buildup is the primary cause of gingivitis. Plaque is the sticky film of bacteria that gives your teeth a fuzzy feeling when you’ve gone too long without brushing or flossing. You can also develop gingivitis after taking certain medications, including steroids or oral contraceptives. Gum disease can even be genetic!

Symptoms of Gingivitis

It’s time to see the dentist if your gums have become red or swollen, or if they start bleeding. Of course, not everyone with gingivitis will experience these symptoms. Some patients only experience persistent bad breath when they develop gingivitis.

Don’t ignore early signs of gingivitis. It is early-stage gum disease, which means if left untreated, it can progress into periodontitis or advanced periodontitis. These conditions are much more painful, expensive, and harder to treat. Without properly removing the plaque and bacteria, they can multiply and destroy your teeth down to the tooth root. If that happens, your tooth will require a root canal or an extraction.

Treatments for Gingivitis

If you have gingivitis or think you have it, see your dentist as soon as possible. Your hygienist will be able to clean plaque and tartar below your gum line, and your dentist will be able to fill any cavities that you may have developed over time. Consistent brushing and flossing (paying careful attention to the gum line) is critical when treating gingivitis.

Preventing Gingivitis

Brush and floss your teeth twice a day, paying particular attention to your gums. This is the best way to make sure that you won’t develop gum disease. With all of the potential causes of gum disease, it is also important to schedule regular appointments with your dentist so that they can examine your gums carefully.

Don’t wait to schedule your next cleaning and examination! Dr. Troy Bartels and his staff are excited to accommodate your family and keep your teeth healthy and beautiful. Contact us to schedule an appointment!

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