woman smiling emphasizing her hand to her smile

Many dentists warn that if you don’t see them regularly, you may develop gingivitis. Toothpaste commercials also mention gingivitis and note that their products prevent this infection. But what is gingivitis and why is it so important that we protect our mouth from this disease? Below are several frequently asked questions about gingivitis.

Did You Know?

Half of the adults over the age of thirty suffer from some form of gum disease (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the name given to irritation, redness or swelling around the area where your gum meets your teeth. This area is called gingiva, so gingivitis is the inflammation of this area. Gingivitis is a common periodontal (gum) disease and is relatively mild unless left untreated. Gingivitis most commonly develops as a result of poor oral hygiene. It is caused by bacterial plaque, which leads to the destruction of gum tissue. The more plaque and tartar that builds up, the more irritated the gums become and the more bacteria is in the mouth. In rare cases, gingivitis can also be spread by kissing or exchanging saliva with someone who has gingivitis.

The most common symptoms are exhibited in the gums. Healthy gums are a light pink and hold themselves tightly around the teeth. If the gums are swollen, dark red, receding, or tender, this may be an indication of gingivitis. Some other symptoms include bad breath and easily bleeding while brushing or flossing.

You may have an increased chance of developing gingivitis if you smoke, chew tobacco, have a perpetually dry mouth, suffer from Vitamin C deficiency, have decreased immunity, or have hormonal changes.

Can I heal from gingivitis?

Of course! You will need to see a dentist for treatment options, but gingivitis is completely curable. First, Dr. Laudie will have to diagnose you. Then, they will most likely remove the plaque and tartar buildup, since this is the primary source of bacteria and irritation. This removal is called scaling and may be slightly uncomfortable. Dr. Jacob Laudie will then show you proper brushing and flossing techniques so that you can keep your teeth clean at home. They may also recommend an electric toothbrush or antiseptic mouthwash.

If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis, which is a more severe infection that can cause the loss of teeth and jaw bone mass. It can also cause abscesses or ulceration of the gums, known as trench mouth. Also, studies have linked gum disease to serious cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack or stroke. You can prevent gingivitis by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting Dr. Jacob Laudie regularly, at least once every six months. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time and flossing once daily, as a minimum. You also want to be sure to maintain a healthy diet and drink lots of water.