If you’re over 50, you’re at increased risk for developing gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. In this post, we’ll show you how to detect the signs of gingivitis and what you can do to treat it. Gingivitis is a common but treatable condition, so don’t despair if you think you may have it. You can keep your gums healthy and avoid more severe problems with proper care.
Who gets gingivitis?
Gingivitis is a widespread gum disease; anyone can get it if their teeth are not cared for properly. It is especially prevalent among those with diabetes or who smoke since their health can weaken oral immunity and allow bacteria to flourish in the mouth more easily. If left untreated, this type of gum disease can cause receding gums, tooth loss, and in extreme cases, even worsen other medical conditions like heart disease.
How common is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is quite a common condition; however, the severity varies from person to person. Around 3 in 4 adults aged 35 and older are affected by it at some point during their life. If not treated in time, it can advance to periodontal disease, which can cause severe damage to the mouth and lead to tooth loss. Therefore, it is essential to identify and treat the condition as early as possible with regular brushing and flossing, visiting a dentist regularly, and eating a healthy diet.
What causes gingivitis?
Causes of gingivitis can include lifestyle factors like smoking or poor oral hygiene. A buildup of tartar on teeth or improper brushing and flossing techniques can result in bacteria occupying the mouth which can lead to infection, leading to gum disease. Another potential cause is leaving dental appliances such as retainers, dentures, or braces in place too long without cleaning them properly. Dietary choices may also contribute to gingivitis. For example, plaque increases from the consumption of sugary foods.
How do they test for and diagnose gingivitis?
Dentists and other healthcare professionals use visual and physical tests to diagnose gingivitis. After examining the affected area, they may feel for any swelling or tenderness in the gum tissue. If there is inflammation present, they will look to see if it is more widespread or limited to certain areas. Their visual assessment could include checking for signs of red, swollen, bleeding gums and assessing the presence of plaque and tartar. In severe cases, X-rays and laboratory tests can also rule out or confirm conditions like periodontal disease that mimic the symptoms of gingivitis.
What is the treatment for gingivitis?
Usually, treatment of this condition involves good oral hygiene and professional cleaning with a dental hygienist to allow easier removal of plaque buildup – most often done during a dental check-up. Your dentist may also suggest medications, changing your toothbrush more frequently, or even certain mouthwashes to reduce bacteria in the mouth. If your gingivitis does not improve, your dentist may recommend an additional treatment such as antibiotic therapy for short-term use or scaling and root planing to remove tartar buildup further below the gum line. Typically, following the prescribed steps, patients experience a considerable improvement in their gingival health within two weeks.
How do you prevent gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that can eventually lead to periodontal disease. Fortunately, we can take steps to prevent and even reverse the effects of gingivitis. The most important thing one can do is maintain a routine of brushing and flossing twice daily. When brushing, use fluoridated toothpaste, use a soft brush, and brush for two minutes at least. Additionally, one should floss once daily to remove plaque or food particles that accumulate between teeth. Finally, regular professional cleanings are also critical in preventing gingivitis as they help remove tartar buildup, which cannot be removed by brushing or flossing alone. Following these simple steps can significantly reduce your chances of developing gingivitis.
Gingivitis is a common and mild form of gum disease curable with good oral hygiene. Early diagnosis and treatment by a dentist or dental hygienist are important to prevent gingivitis from progressing to periodontitis, which is much more severe. People of all ages can get gingivitis, but some risk factors make it more likely, such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, pregnancy, and certain medications. With regular brushing, flossing, and cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist, gingivitis can be controlled and cured.