Gum Disease: What is Gingivitis?

Did you know? Gingivitis is another word for gum disease. If you suffer from bleeding gums after brushing your teeth, for instance, then you probably have gum disease. It’s good to know what inflammation is, how to prevent it and how to cure it. Here are some crucial things that you should know about gum disease.

What Is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums surrounding the teeth. Bacteria build up between the teeth and create plaque, also called dental plaque.

How Is Gum Disease Treated?

Dental plaque is sticky and clear, but it can quickly turn into hard tartar. Bacteria and tartar cause irritation and eventually, gum disease. If inflammation is not treated in time by the dentist or dental hygienist, it can become an unpleasant and painful experience.

Gum disease has two phases: gingivitis and periodontitis. The first phase (gingivitis) is treated quickly – harmless and often only causes irritation and minor bleeding during brushing. If not treated in time, it can develop into severe inflammation (periodontal disease) that can even lead to tooth loss. Hence, gum disease should be taken seriously, even if it does not seem serious at first.

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How Is Gum Disease Recognized?

An inflammation is, especially in the initial phase, almost invisible to the naked eye. However, some symptoms indicate the existence of gingivitis:

-The gums are red and swollen, instead of pink and smooth.
-Gums begin to bleed rapidly, for example when brushing teeth.
-Gums hurt and feel irritated
-You have bad breath and a bad taste in your mouth
-Upon recognizing the above symptoms, we recommend that you contact your dentist. The dentist and dental hygienist can detect and treat gum disease early.

The Cause of Gingivitis

The cause of gum disease can be summed up in three words: poor oral hygiene. By taking poor care of your teeth, you give free rein to bacteria, which quickly settle between your teeth and gums. Some factors increase the risk of gum disease. The risk of inflammation is higher during hormonal changes, for example, during puberty, menstruation or pregnancy. The risk also increases as you get older.

How Can Gingivitis Be Prevented?

Fortunately, gum inflammation is easy to prevent. The most important thing to do is good oral hygiene; make sure your mouth is clean. This way, the likelihood of inflammation is small. Start with thorough brushing and flossing twice a day. Besides, the following tips will also help you prevent inflammation:

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1) Quit smoking

Smoking has two drawbacks when it comes to gums: cigarette smoke irritates the gums and slows down damaged gums’ healing process.

2) Eat Healthily

You’ve probably heard it before, but unhealthy eating is still one of the leading causes of poor oral hygiene. Eat as little sugar as possible, and avoid alcohol and fizzy drinks. These foods affect your teeth. Healthy eating ensures a healthier life, and that has positive consequences for your teeth and gums.

3) Use Oral Hygiene Aids

A regular toothbrush is not enough to keep your teeth clean; after brushing with a toothbrush, many stains remain unpolished. Therefore, use aids such as a toothpick or brushes. Consult your dentist or dental hygienist about what is best for your teeth.

4) Mouthwash With Alcohol: Don’t Do It!

Mouthwash cleans the places you can’t easily reach with a toothbrush and is, therefore, an excellent addition to your oral care. But make sure you don’t use a mouthwash that contains alcohol. Alcohol can dry out your mouth, causing bacteria to spread more quickly.

5) Read the Package Insert of Your Medications

Some medications dry out the mouth and increase the risk of gingivitis. If this bothers you a lot, see if you can get alternative remedies.

To avoid such problems, make sure to have a regular checkup at least twice a year. The dentist identifies and prevents any dental issues early. If you’re looking for dental care services in Victoria, Dr Matic and the friendly staff at ALTONA MEADOWS DENTAL CLINIC have looked after families’ dental health for 30 years. They will be more than happy to assess your dental issues as well. Do not hesitate to contact them!

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