What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the earliest form of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to the more serious condition of periodontitis. Gingivitis is very common in children and adults and occurs when plaque accumulates on teeth. A poor oral care routine can lead to plaque buildup on the teeth.
There are four general stages of gum disease:
- Stage 1: Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and its symptoms include inflamed or red gums that may bleed when brushed.
- Stage 2: In early periodontitis, slight loss of bone that supports the teeth occurs even though other symptoms may not be easily observed.
- Stage 3: In moderate periodontitis, more bone and gum tissue is destroyed and loosening of teeth may also occur.
- Stage 4: Advanced periodontitis is the most severe stage of the disease. Symptoms become more severe, teeth can become very loose and biting and chewing may hurt. Extensive dental treatment is typically required to try to correct the damage of advanced periodontitis.
- Swollen or puffy gums.
- Dusky red or dark red gums.
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss.
- Bad breath.
- Receding gums.
- Tender gums.
There may not be pain associated with gingivitis, which is why the signs may be overlooked.
How Is Gingivitis Treated?
The most crucial step in treating gingivitis is to not ignore symptoms that may seem harmless, such as a little blood in the sink when you floss and brush, and/or irritated gums that look red and/or swollen. If these symptoms appear, make an appointment to check in with your dentist to identify the cause and to get your teeth and gums assessed. Your dentist may recommend an improved daily home-care regimen for your teeth, including adding antiseptic mouthwash to your routine. If pockets of bacteria have formed around the teeth and gums are beginning to pull away from the teeth, a deep cleaning with your dentist or periodontist may be suggested. If ignored, gingivitis can develop into advanced-stage gum disease (periodontitis), which is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
If you have any questions about your oral routine, feel free to schedule a visit with Fox Dental and our staff can answer any questions you might have!