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What Is Gingivitis? Frequently Asked Questions

Lady With Mouth Problem
Anyone who goes to the dentist regularly or who has seen a toothpaste commercial has probably heard of gingivitis. Knowing what gingivitis is and what you can do to avoid gingivitis can help you take care of your teeth and gums. This FAQ can help you avoid or treat gingivitis as needed. 

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a type of gum disease characterized by inflammation of the gums. This condition occurs when plaque builds up on the teeth and releases toxins. These toxins cause the gums to become inflamed. 

What Causes Gingivitis?

At its core, gingivitis is caused by plaque. However, there are many factors that can put people at greater risk for contracting gingivitis, including:
  • Oral hygiene problems. If the teeth are not clean, bacteria can build up in the gums, thus leading to gingivitis.
  • Lack of dentist visits. People who fail to see the dentist on a regular basis may experience a buildup of plaque, which in turn could lead to gingivitis. 
  • Stress. Stress can weaken the immune system, which in turn impedes the body's ability to fight off bacteria and gingivitis. 
  • Nutritional deficiency. Poor nutrition can impact a body's ability to fight off gum disease.
  • Smoking. Smoking causes the mouth to get dry, which in turn can lead to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, which can put the body at risk for gingivitis.
  • Changes in hormones. A change in hormones can lead the gums to become infected.
Basically, anything that would allow bacteria to grow on the teeth is something that could lead to gingivitis. The list above is not comprehensive, so people who are concerned that they could get gingivitis on their teeth should see the dentist as soon as possible to get their teeth cleaned. 

What Are the Symptoms of Gingivitis?

The symptoms of gingivitis are similar to symptoms of some other dental conditions, so the best way to get your gingivitis diagnosed is by visiting a dentist. The most obvious indications of gingivitis are red, swollen gums and gums that bleed. Usually, the gums will bleed when brushing or flossing. In addition, a person with gingivitis may experience:
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Bad breath
  • Gum soreness
  • Loose teeth
If you have any of these symptoms, speak with a dentist as soon as possible. Gingivitis can lead to more serious forms of gum disease like periodontitis. Getting treatment as soon as possible is critical for preventing this problem.

How Can You Treat Gingivitis?

The best way to treat gingivitis is to remove the bacteria from the mouth and keep the mouth clean on an ongoing basis. Often dentists will recommend an in-office deep cleaning to remove all the bacteria from the gums. In addition, flossing regularly, brushing daily, and using antibacterial mouthwash can all help treat gingivitis. 

The dentist may recommend that a patient with gingivitis see the dentist more frequently than a patient who doesn't have gingivitis. Seeing the dentist as often as recommended is a critical part of gingivitis treatment.

What Can You Do to Prevent Gingivitis?

You can prevent gingivitis by seeing the dentist regularly, brushing your teeth daily, flossing daily, and brushing your teeth properly. Get a lesson in tooth brushing from your dentist to ensure that you're brushing your teeth correctly. 

How Can You Learn More About Gingivitis?

You can learn more about gingivitis by contacting a dentist in your area. Your dentist can answer any questions that you might have about gingivitis and can also give you some suggestions for avoiding gingivitis in the future. 

At Joseph M. Perry, D.D.S., P.A., we're happy to answer any questions that you might have about gingivitis. Contact us today for more information.