What is gingivitis and what causes it?

The Confusion on What Gingivitis if and What Causes it

What is gingivitis and what causes it?

Television ads about toothpaste often mention keeping your teeth clean in order to avoid gingivitis. So what IS gingivitis? At Prescott Dentistry, we’re quite familiar with this word and with the negative impact of its meaning. Let’s take a few minutes to clear up any  confusion on what gingivitis is and what causes it. And in the process, we’ll make a few suggestions about how to avoid this unpleasant and unwanted oral visitor.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a mild version of gum disease. And unfortunately, it’s rather common. This type of gum disease can appear on the gingiva, which is the portion of your gums next to your teeth (Mayo Clinic, 2017). Our dentists can treat gingivitis, but in order to knock out the disease, treatment should occur at the first sign of any gum issues. Most often, the early signs of gum disease are found during dental cleanings and checkups, one reason your biannual visits to the dentist shouldn’t be neglected. By avoiding those visits you could be putting yourself at a higher risk of gum disease and other potentially harmful dental issues. In fact, poor dental hygiene at home and staying away from dental visits are the most common reasons for developing gingivitis. In addition, poor diets or diets that are high in sugar and acidic foods can greatly increase your chances of gum disease.

The most common signs of gum disease include:

  • Gums that bleed very easily when brushing teeth or flossing (Colgate, 2018)
  • Dark red or swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Receding gum line, meaning that your gums are slowly covering less and less of the teeth
  • Bad breath

If you notice any of the above symptoms, we encourage you to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning right away. As we mentioned before, gingivitis can be treated if caught early enough, but if it progresses unabated, it can lead to infection that spreads into the jawbone and causes tooth loss and other difficulties.

Our Prescott Dentistry staff will give you the best care possible, with the goal of helping you treat or avoid gingivitis. Along with eating a proper diet and practicing good oral hygiene, which includes brushing, flossing, cleaning your tongue, and using mouthwash to further rinse away the bacteria, your regular dental visits to our office can go a long way toward keeping your teeth and gums in good shape. And remember, we also offer holistic preventative care options that can further protect and strengthen your teeth and gums. Hopefully, any confusion on what gingivitis is and what causes it has been cleared up, and you’ve now got a healthy understanding of how to help your teeth and gums stay strong for a lifetime of use!

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (9/17/2018) Parveen chopra (Flickr)