Gingivitis is a common form of periodontal disease that causes inflammation of the gums. It is caused by plaque and calculus that has accumulated on the teeth, causing inflamed or bleeding gums. This disease is fairly common, and initially, there is no permanent damage to the gum tissue or teeth.
However, untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a condition that results in damage to gum tissue or bone around the teeth. Gum disease has also been linked to other health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and premature or low birth-weight babies. If you think you have gingivitis, it’s important to see your dentist to learn the severity of your condition and discuss different treatment options that will prevent the development of periodontitis.
Common Symptoms of Gingivitis
If you have a mild case of gingivitis, you may not experience any symptoms or discomfort. Common signs and symptoms include:
- Bright red or discolored gums
- Receding gums
- Bleeding when brushing or flossing
- Bad breath (also called halitosis)
- Swollen or soft gums
- Pain when touching or applying pressure to the gums
Treatment and Prevention
There are a variety of ways to treat gingivitis, starting with improving your day-to-day oral hygiene. Dr. Foote offers the following treatment options:
Professional teeth cleaning – This process involves removing tartar and plaque that builds up on the teeth and weakens the enamel. If you do not floss on a regular basis, this procedure is especially important because it will remove any bacteria or decay that has developed in the crevices of your teeth. Learn more about our teeth cleaning procedure.
Restoration – In addition to repairing any cavities, Dr. Foote may examine your teeth for any faulty fillings, crowns or bridges that irritate the gums or easily allow plaque to build up. Crooked or misaligned teeth can play also play a factor in plaque and tartar builds up, so we may discuss your options for realigning your teeth.
Oral hygiene – Although professional teeth cleaning and dental restoration can help clear up gingivitis, your delicate gums will need special treatment to prevent future infection or disease. Dr. Foote will provide you with instructions for day-to-day oral hygiene in terms of flossing and brushing and may provide recommendations for products designed specifically for preventing gingivitis.