If people knew how to prevent gingivitis, it could significantly impact the number of individuals faced with this form of gum disease. In some cases, simply practicing good oral hygiene and keeping regular dentist appointments may be enough to prevent the disease. In others, it may be instrumental in keeping gingivitis from progressing into a more serious condition.
People can empower themselves by understanding more about the disease, how to prevent gingivitis, and what could happen if they do not take their dental health seriously. By making oral health a priority, a person can better protect themselves against this disease.
What Is Gingivitis?
A mild and somewhat common form of gum disease is usually diagnosed by a dentist as gingivitis. An individual with this condition may notice that their gums have become increasingly red, irritated, and/or swollen.
When diagnosed early, gingivitis can be addressed and treated. However, if left unaddressed, this disease has the potential to grow into a much more serious health condition called periodontal disease. A person who notices their gums have become inflamed and irritated, should make an appointment with their dentist as soon as possible for a professional diagnosis.
Common Signs of Gingivitis
The two top causes of gingivitis are poor oral hygiene and bad technique. Plaque can form on teeth from simple daily activities such as eating and drinking.
Teeth that are not regularly brushed or brushed correctly can allow plaque to stay in place and turn into tartar which requires teeth cleaning by a professional to remove. Tartar that is not addressed and removed can result in gingivitis.
While red, swollen, and irritated gums tend to be the main signs of gingivitis, they are not the only ones. Other primary symptoms can include:
- Bleeding gums
- Receding gums
- Tender gums
- Bad breath
Early diagnosis of gingivitis is key. Should you notice the above conditions present in your own oral health, make it a point to see a reputable dentist in the near future.
Some of the Best Ways of How to Prevent Gingivitis
It is critical for individuals who are predisposed to this disease to know how to prevent gingivitis and in some cases that can mean being aware of certain risk factors. In addition to poor hygiene and improper technique, some of the lifestyle conditions that may make an individual’s risk of the disease to go up are age, poor nutrition, smoking, hormonal changes, and genetics.
In addition to knowing the risk factors, when it comes to how to prevent gingivitis there are steps that people can take to protect themselves against this disease, including:
- Brush teeth twice a day. When done correctly, practicing good oral hygiene should include brushing one’s teeth in the morning and again in the evening before going to bed. This can be instrumental in removing plaque that has collected while eating and drinking throughout the day, as well as that which has built up overnight. Some individuals with braces may even choose to brush after every meal for added protection against plaque buildup.
- Floss regularly. While many floss after brushing their teeth, it may be good to do so before brushing. This may be helpful in loosening pieces of food and debris that have collected in between teeth that can then be brushed away.
- Go to dentist appointments. Practicing excellent oral hygiene is a daily commitment that is essential to protecting the health of teeth and gums, however, professional teeth cleanings are recommended every six months. This not only allows a dentist to better remove stubborn plaque and tartar from teeth, but it also helps them keep an eye on any signs of the development of cavities or gingivitis.
- Practice good nutrition. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and minimal amounts of sugary and processed food may help better protect teeth from increased levels of plaque and tartar.
Dangers of Not Treating Gingivitis
Some patients may mistakenly think of untreated plaque and tartar as simply costing them a cavity or two, but in reality the dangers of not treating gingivitis are much more costly than that. Untreated gingivitis can quickly lead to periodontal disease and other serious conditions.
Periodontitis is not something a person wants to endure, especially when they could have taken steps to help prevent against its development. When gingivitis is left untreated it can allow the gums to become even more red, inflamed and irritated, causing them to eventually pull away from the teeth. This motion frequently creates space between the teeth and gums that are prime spots for infection to develop.
These infections can be both unsightly and uncomfortable, but it could be just the beginning. Some infections can become so intense that they cause other oral health issues in teeth and the jaw. In addition to out of control periodontitis potentially resulting in tooth decay, it could also result in the loss of teeth, which might necessitate additional dental work for the patient to talk or chew properly.
Abscesses are another possible outcome of gingivitis that is left untreated. This condition occurs when pus forms in the gums or teeth and can be quite painful. Most abscesses require antibiotics for relief and restoration, but some abscesses could require surgery. In rare cases, an abscess may be able to spread through the blood stream and cause a host of other serious conditions such as sepsis. Patients who suspect they have an abscess should seek professional dental help as soon as possible.
Knowing how to prevent gingivitis and committing to actually doing it are two different things. Individuals who notice the primary symptoms of this disease developing in their own gums and teeth should seek an appointment with a reputable dentist before it progresses into a much more serious situation, such as periodontitis.
Knowing how to care for and protect yourself against oral disease is a gift everyone deserves. Make your dental health a priority today and schedule an exam and cleaning.