The Ins & Outs of Gingivitis

The Ins & Outs of Gingivitis

Gingivitis can flare up at any age but becomes more likely as we age. Quite common (some 47% of the adult population will suffer from it at some point), gingivitis has been on dental professionals' radar since the 1870's, which means we now have a solid grasp on how to attack it. If left untreated, the disease can lead to massive issues. The good news is that with a little effort and the right steps, you can get this under control.

What Are the Signs of Gingivitis?
In most cases, gums may be swollen, tender to the touch, or even bleeding. These are the first signs of gingivitis – think of them as a warning shot fired off by your body, gently signaling that you should make a change. In addition, make sure to pay attention to any discoloration or significant bad breath. If the symptoms are mild, you should be able to clear them up within a few weeks.

What Causes Gingivitis
Changing conditions in one's body at some point in life can cause gums to become inflamed. Plaque is by and large the culprit but not always and of course, diagnostics may vary based on the individual. What happens most commonly is that bacterial plaque calls for a response from the host's body and that response is typically the inflammation observed. Not letting things escalate to infection is paramount. 

Can Gingivitis Be Reversed?
Yes! And that is one of the great positives about this particular form of gum disease. Firstly, there is no bone loss associated with gingivitis. Secondly, inflammation and infection are stages that require treatment but which are unlikely to cause permanent damage to the oral cavity. Thirdly, if poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of a gingivitis diagnosis, very clear steps can be formulated to address the condition.

How To Treat Gingivitis
The main goal here is to remove the excess plaque which has built up in the oral cavity. In the dentist's chair, that may mean a procedure known as scaling, which is manual plaque removal with professional tools. At home, several options can be considered:

  • Salt water rinse;
  • Natural mouthwash (and, no, you still should not swallow it);
  • Clove or tumeric topical application;
  • Hydrogen peroxide, a great over-the-counter option, is also one of the active ingredients known to counter gingivitis.

How To Prevent Gingivitis from Returning
Many of us underestimate how effective a sound home regimen will be in promoting the longevity of your teeth. Which are, it must be emphasized, the only teeth you have...

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day will decrease plaque buildup and stimulate your gums by bringing oxygen to the area. For best brushing results, use a sonic toothbrush. With 30,000 oscillations per minute, the rotations will go a long way in removing excess plaque. It is also important to select brush heads that are soft enough for your mouth. If there is evidence of bleeding or discomfort, choose softer bristles.
  • Flossing daily is another key factor in good oral health. Using a floss that is fluoridated will improve your home care regimen by preventing bacterial growth, helping to remove tartar build-up and decreasing the likelihood of gingivitis to reoccur.
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