What is Gingivitis and How Can We Avoid It
So, what is gingivitis? How can you protect your teeth from it?
Gingivitis simply refers to inflammation of the gums. It is a common type of periodontal disease. Usually, people have it as a result of the accumulation of plaque containing bacteria on the teeth.
Common signs of this condition include swelling of the gingiva (gum around your teeth’s base), irritation and bleeding while brushing. Other possible symptoms include:
- Halitosis or bad breath
- Receding gums
- Tender and potentially painful gums
The inflammation can signal the onset of gum disease. But it is typically non-destructive. You may easily get rid of it with improved oral hygiene, including the use of antiseptic mouthwash.
Gingivitis is mild in many cases and people may not pay much attention to it because of this. But, when left untreated, it has the potential to transform into periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. You are at risk of losing your teeth when this happens.
How Does Gingivitis Develop?
People typically have this inflammation of the gums due to poor oral hygiene. This gives room for accumulation of plaque, a sticky biofilm, between and around the teeth.
Dental plaque usually forms when colonizing bacteria interact with sugars and starches in your diet and stick to your teeth. It typically returns in no time after removal. That means things can deteriorate quickly if you don’t remove it on time or well enough.
Plaque hardens and turns into tartar or calculus at the base of your teeth close to the gums. This creates better protection for bacteria and is harder to remove. You’d usually require professional assistance for removing tartar.
Development of tartar leads to irritation of the gums. The result is inflammation of your gum-line. This causes swollen gum and may lead to bleeding. You could also experience tooth decay as a result.
Apart from poor oral hygiene, there are certain other factors that can increase your risk of having gingivitis. They include:
- Poor diet
- Family history
- Hormonal changes
- Medications – for example, phenytoin (Dilatin), steroids and certain anti-angina drugs
- Medical conditions, including diabetes, leukemia, and HIV
How to Avoid Gingivitis
By taking proper, preemptive measures, you are able to prevent this gum disease and complications that can follow it.
Periodontitis isn’t the only serious issue that could result later on from having gingivitis. It has also been linked to certain systemic health issues, including rheumatoid arthritis, respiratory disease, and stroke.
The following are some important things you can do prevent gingivitis along with its associated complications.
Keep a healthy diet
So much has been said by medical experts about the dangers of sugars in the diet. You need to watch this for the sake of your teeth as well.
Endeavor to maintain a healthy diet devoid of high supply of refined sugars. Make an effort to keep your blood sugar in check, especially if you are diabetic. Your gum-line will thank you for this.
Practice good oral hygiene
Regular brushing and flossing are essential for keeping gingivitis at bay. Plaque forms quickly again after removal. You should endeavor to brush at least twice daily – in the morning and before bed at night. Better still, make sure you brush after every snack or meal.
Try to floss your teeth at least once every day before brushing. Rinse with a natural or antiseptic mouthwash on a regular basis. Also, ensure you get a new toothbrush every three months.
Visit a dentist regularly
It helps to visit your dental doctor from time to time. You should do this at least once a year if you have no major risk factor.
Such visits would enable you to get your teeth well-examined and possible issues get detected on time. It also affords you recommendations on best toothbrush and mouthwash to use.
Regular dental visits are quite important. Without them, you may not realize you have serious gingivitis until it progresses to, or very close to, the more severe periodontitis.
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