Oral health takes daily work since the teeth and gums do not naturally clean themselves. It also requires regular dental checkups for routine exams and teeth cleaning. Failing to practice proper oral hygiene can lead to oral problems such as cavities, gum disease, or gingivitis.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the medical term for inflammation of the gum. It is different from gum disease and is caused mainly by the buildup of plaque on the tooth’s surface. Plaque is an off-white, creamy film containing bacteria that sticks to teeth when food particles are not removed by brushing or flossing. It eventually calcifies or hardens into tartar.
Plaque produces toxins that irritate the gum and cause it to become inflamed. No amount of brushing can remove tartar from your teeth or gum line.
Gingivitis symptoms are usually easy to spot if you pay close attention to your teeth and gums when brushing. Common gingivitis symptoms are:
- Bleeding gum (especially when brushing or flossing)
- Gum appears red or puffy (inflamed)
- Soreness of the gum that persists
- Bad breath
- Loose tooth
- A toothache
- Sensitive tooth
Gingivitis should be treated as soon as possible to prevent dental complications. Untreated gingivitis commonly leads to periodontitis or gum disease. The disease destroys the tissue or bone that holds your teeth in place.
Before treating you, your dentists will examine your gum for inflammation and signs of infection in the periodontal pockets. In treating you, your dentists will remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth and under your gum using a special dental tool.
Root planning may also be done to remove plaque and tartar from the root surface. If medication is needed, you will be given antibiotics. In severe cases, flap surgery may be done to lift the gum to remove plaque and tartar from the periodontal pockets.
After treatment, it is important to continue at home by regularly brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antiseptic mouthwash. This will form part of preventative care.
Plaque can still accumulate on teeth even with regular brushing and flossing. It can get under the gum and cause symptoms of gingivitis. Preventative care protects against periodontitis, tooth decay, and extractions, and avoids the need for prosthetic teeth, e.g., implants, bridges, or dentures.
Here are a few tips to help prevent gingivitis from occurring or recurring:
- Brush at least twice a day for about 2-3 minutes
- Brush in a circular motion to clean the gum line
- Floss at least once a day
- Replace toothbrushes every 3 months
- Examine your gum regularly for signs of gingivitis
- Use anti-gingivitis toothpaste and mouthwash
- Get routine dental checkups
Your dentist should be part of your preventative care system to prevent gingivitis and other oral problems. With routine dental checkups, your dentist can spot gum inflammation and remove built-up plaque and tartar from the teeth and gums.
If you live in Pleasant View, UT, or surrounding areas and suspect you developed gingivitis, our certified and experienced dentists at Mountain View Dental can treat you. Our office is spacious and comfortable, and treatment is done with professionalism, care, and compassion while following strict hygiene. To make an appointment, call us at 385-324-3557.