If you are fastidious about your oral hygiene then you may never have or ever experience gingivitis, but it doesn’t necessarily rule you out from getting it in the future all together. Gingivitis is a gum disease that results in swollen, red and painful gums and is usually a result of a bacterial infection.
While gingivitis itself is quite a mild disease, it can turn into something more serious known as ‘periodontitis’. This is why it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of the disease in order to start treatment early. There are a number of different signs and symptoms to keep a look out for that could make the difference between nipping it in the bud and going through elongated and fairly strenuous dental treatments. Having said this; when brushing and flossing each day you should be checking your gums for the following:
Normal, healthy gums are usually a uniform and deep pink colour. However, when inflammation occurs your gums start to change colour and you may notice patches of your gums are bright red. This discouloration usually begins in one area of the mouth, for example in between your two front teeth. It is common for this redness to appear where plaque or tartar has accumulated. Sometimes you may not even notice the colour change until you push back your gum with a dental pick.
Your gums should have a slightly textured surface and be firm to the touch. Your lips should also be easily able to slide over them due to their moistness. Your gums should be thinner at the edges near where your teeth lie as they are designed to create a film against bacteria and other food debris.
If your gums don’t look as they should, for example if the edges of your gums are slightly peeled away from the surface of your teeth, then you may have gingivitis. How they feel is also important as soft, shiny, puffy gums may be another sign.
Gum bleeding is one of the more common signs you may have gingivitis. Your gums may bleed as it’s a natural immune response to pump more blood to infected tissues in order to speed up healing. If you find blood in your spit after brushing your teeth, when you floss or even when you eat food, then you may have gingivitis.
It’s important to note that you should not stop brushing once you see blood as it may cause a worse buildup of plaque. Instead use a soft toothbrush and try not to brush vigorously. If conditions prevail, see a dentist.
Receding gums are the hardest sign to spot, unless you pay very close attention to your teeth and gums. This is where your teeth may look longer than normal due to the gums pulling back or deteriorating. The gums on either side of the mouth should be evenly shaped and symmetrical. If this is not the case, then your best bet is to see your dentist as soon as you can. If you leave it too late, the loss of gum tissue may not be reversible.
Bad breath is common among many people due to the bacteria living in our mouths. However, bacteria colonies play a huge part in the development of plaque, leading to gum irritation. This bacteria not only makes your breath smell bad but it contributes to gingivitis. Proper oral care is often recommended to solve this problem.
A visit to a dentist or oral hygienist is normally the best way to start treating an established gingivitis infection. Scaling removes tartar and bacteria from your teeth surfaces, as well as from beneath your gums. Root planning will calm down your nerves and reduce inflammation.
If poor teeth crowns or previous procedures are impeding the effectiveness of your daily dental habits, then you are likely to have this work redone to avoid further infection.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent and treat a gingivitis infection is simply to have really good dental hygiene habits. Your dentist will plan an at-home daily treatment plan that you must stick to, and you may have to go in for further check-ups down the line.