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Gingivitis 101: How to Prevent it and What to Do if It Happens to You
Aug 22, 2018

Gingivitis is a common gum disease. Even if you don’t have it, you’ve probably heard about it, either from a dentist or on a commercial. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 200,000 cases of gingivitis per year in the United States. Gingivitis is something to avoid; it causes swollen, sensitive gums.

Gingivitis most often results from your teeth not being properly cleaned of plaque and bacteria build-up. And as the case with most oral ailments, smokers have a higher chance of developing this gum disease as well.

Symptoms
The most common symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums that are sensitive to the touch. The gums may easily start bleeding when brushed and flossed. Other symptoms can include bad breath (halitosis) and receding gums. However, because these symptoms can be so mild, it is easy for gingivitis to go unnoticed. In fact, many people are unaware that they actually have gingivitis.

Long-Term Gingivitis
Despite its mild symptoms and common occurrence, gingivitis should be treated as a serious disease. When left untreated long-term, it can result in grave consequences. In studies, gingivitis has been linked to heart disease and stroke, resulting from the eventual buildup of plaque in the bloodstream. Additionally, gingivitis can cause oral complications, such as infections, recurrent gingivitis, periodontitis (resulting in other bone and teeth loss), and ulceration of the gums (trench mouth).

Treatment
The good news is that this form of gum disease is straightforward to resolve. When caught early on, you can treat gingivitis by developing and implementing these oral hygiene habits:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss once a day
  • Use mouthwash
  • Avoid foods high in sugar and/or acidity

Eating crunchy foods also can help remove excess debris from the surface of your teeth as well. And of course, not smoking can reduce your risk overall.

If your gums feel more sensitive than usual, book an appointment to see your dentist soon, even if it’s not the time for your six-month checkup. By catching gingivitis early, we can treat it and get your mouth feeling better in no time.