Gingivitis is a condition where the gums become inflamed. This most often caused due to the build up of plaque on the teeth, and specifically to the bacteria that grow and live on the plaque. Less commonly, gingivitis can develop for other reasons. These may include hormonal changes, and trauma to the gums, such as chewing on very hard foods, or foods with sharp points. The inflamed gum will often bleed when the teeth are being brushed. Taking steps to help with gingivitis prevention will result in healthier teeth and gums.
It is important to understand that gingivitis is not the same thing as gum disease, but is very often a precursor to it. If one does not try gingivitis prevention techniques, and then fails to seek treatment when the condition arises, that person is prone to develop fully-fledged gum disease, known as periodontitis.
Plaque accumulation leads to calculus accumulation, which is essentially calcified plaque. This build up leads to a chronic inflammatory response. The first thing you can do to prevent gingivitis is to maintain a great oral health plan. Brushing and flossing is essential as well as regular dental visits. Your dentist and dental hygienist can diagnose gingivitis and work with you to provide thorough cleanings, instruct you on proper techniques and monitor your progress that is determined by your risk levels.
How Do I Know If I Have Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a term that refers to inflamed gums. If gums feel tender when brushing teeth, there is a good chance that gingivitis has developed. Note that the tenderness is often confined to quite a small area on the upper or lower gum, and does not often affect the entire gum.
If you see traces of blood on your toothbrush, or when spitting out after cleaning, that is an indication you may have gingivitis. Other indications are swollen gums or when the gums have a purplish color.