Early Signs Of Gingivitis
You may have noticed that your teeth have become more sensitive lately, or that your gums look a bit red. You have never noticed that before. Could something be wrong? Maybe if you just ignore it, it will go away. It might go away or you might have the early signs of gingivitis.
What Is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease. While gingivitis is usually painless it can turn into a condition known as periodontitis. This is a severe gum disease and is the major cause of tooth loss in adults.
Gingivitis occurs because of the buildup of plaque around the base of the tooth. Plaque is naturally occuring and can be colorless or, in most cases, a pale yellow. It is the bacteria contained in the plaque that causes the problems. If left untreated this plaque buildup can cause major oral problems. That is why you should be brushing your teeth multiple times a day.
Early Signs Of Gingivitis
Your gums should have a pale pink color to them when they are healthy. However, during the beginning stages of gingivitis your gums will become red and swollen. In some cases the gums will become irritated and painful.
This is normally caused by poor oral hygiene. If you don’t brush regularly, the plaque will build up between your teeth and bacteria will grow. This is the cause of red, irritated gums.
Bleeding When You Brush
Another symptom of the inflammation-causing bacteria is bleeding gums. Many times your gums will be sensitive because of this inflammation. You may notice that when you brush your teeth or floss that your gums will bleed quite easily.
There may not be a lot of blood but this should cause you some concern. Again, the antidote to this is proper oral hygiene.
As the pockets of plaque build up and the bacteria begins to multiply, your gums will begin to recede. This is sometimes called “long tooth” syndrome. As your gums begin to recede, your teeth start to have an elongated look to them.
If you have advanced gum disease, this look will be more pronounced, but in early stages of gingivitis it is usually mild. One of the early signs of receding gums is sensitive teeth. If you notice that your teeth are more sensitive to hot or cold foods it may be caused by a receding gumline. This is usually the first early signs of gingivitis and you should be aware if your gums are receding.
No doubt you have had bad breath at some time or another. Usually this is caused by an illness, certain medications, or some food that you have recently eaten. But if you have chronic bad breath, or halitosis, it may be caused by the bacteria forming on your teeth.
At this point, mints or mouthwash will not solve the problem. Chronic bad breath is a sign from your body that something is going wrong. You must listen to what your body is telling you and go see your dentist as soon as possible.
People who suffer from halitosis may also have a bad taste in their mouth that never goes away no matter what they eat or how often they brush. Again, listen to your body.
Loose Or Shifting Teeth
As the gums recede from the teeth they can cause injury to the tissue and bone that supports the teeth and keeps them stable. This will cause the teeth to loosen and begin to shift.
Once this happens there is a greater chance of tooth loss. In some cases a dentist will be forced to remove it.
What Are The Causes?
As stated earlier, the buildup of plaque is the most common cause of gingivitis. If you are not brushing regularly, the bacteria found in plaque will build up and start to wreak havoc in your mouth.
The bacteria then produces acids that will attack the enamel of your teeth and will start to damage your gums. If left untreated, this damage can become permanent. There are other causes of gingivitis such as smoking, hormonal changes, taking certain medications, and genetics.
How To Prevent Gingivitis
There are a few, simple things you can do to prevent and reduce the risk of gingivitis. The first thing is to brush your teeth regularly, at least twice a day. Some people swear by brushing after every meal, but that is up to you.
Flossing on a daily basis can also help prevent gingivitis. This is something that can easily be done after every meal, but you should be flossing every time you brush.
Avoid smoking and other tobacco products. If you are not smoking now, don’t start. If you are smoking, try to quit. This will not only have oral health benefits but will help your overall health as well.
Eat a well balanced diet to help create stronger teeth and bones. You don’t have to radically change your dies, but adding fresh healthy foods to your diet will make a big difference in your oral health.
What To Do If You Have Early Signs Of Gingivitis
It is important to know that gingivitis can be reversed if it is caught early enough. That it why you need to be on the lookout for all the signs indicated above.
If you have any of these signs it is advisable to see your dentist as soon as possible. They will start a process that will help reverse your gingivitis.
Most likely your dentist will prescribe a series of teeth cleanings. This is know as scaling and it can be a bit uncomfortable. Especially if you have very sensitive gums. However, this procedure is absolutely necessary. All the plaque and bacteria need to be removed in order for your gums to heal.
In the meantime, you need to start practicing proper oral hygiene. Brush your teeth regularly. Floss on a daily basis and start to rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. Your dentist may even prescribe a stronger mouthwash.
Ultimately, the root cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. So it makes sense that good oral hygiene can help reverse it. You should be on the lookout for the early signs of gingivitis and take proactive steps to stop it in its tracks and reverse it all together.
Schedule regular teeth cleaning with your dentist, at least every six months, and and follow their instructions. Begin practicing proper oral hygiene and your gums and teeth will start to become healthier and look better in no time.