What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis refers to a condition where the gums become inflamed. They may bleed a small amount of blood when you brush your teeth or when you floss.
This condition is fairly common. It starts when bacteria affects the space between your teeth and your gums, which is an area referred to as gingival grooves or “plaque traps”. This bacteria takes residence here and produces an immune response from your body.
The tissue becomes inflamed as part of this response. When this inflammation is allowed to continue for a prolonged period of time, this ultimately results in the destruction of the tissues that attach your gums to your teeth. Gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, which typically requires considerable effort and even surgeries to treat.
The easiest way to recognize gingivitis is by looking for the symptoms most commonly associated with it. Seeing blood when you brush or floss, noticing inflammation in your gums, or feeling as if your gums “itch” at any point are generally the signs of moderate to advanced gingivitis.
The earliest signs of gingivitis can only be recognized by a dentist with the proper experience and tools to inspect your mouth. If you have dry mouth, problems with controlling plaque or a large amount of crowns in your mouth, you stand an elevated risk of acquiring gingivitis.
The treatment for common forms of gingivitis is simply to keep your mouth cleaner. Brushing and flossing on a regular basis reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth, which in turn allows your body to heal itself.
Patients with advanced stages of gingivitis or other problems may require additional treatment. Your dentist may recommend that you use a certain type of mouthwash, prescribe oral antibiotics or recommend that you use a different type of toothbrush.
The most important thing to keep in mind about gingivitis is that it is treatable. You can reverse it so long as you begin treatment before it advances to periodontitis.