Gingivitis, also called gum disease, is suffered by millions of people all over the United States. This early form of gum disease can be relatively mild – but it represents harmful bacteria beginning to colonize the gums through hard, sticky deposits of plaque on the teeth.
People can go months or even years with this stealthy disease without even noticing it. The longer there are undisturbed pockets of plaque on the teeth, the more likely it is bacteria will successfully attack and begin to colonize the soft tissue that holds the teeth in place.
The signs include:
- Mild redness in the gums – sometimes noticeable only on one “set” of gums;
- Occasional bleeding of the gums, typically at the same time you brush or floss your teeth.
How does gingivitis creep up on people?
Simply, it can be hard to tell if symptoms are directly related to gum disease. Bleeding of the gums can be caused accidentally by brushing too hard with a rough, older toothbrush even if your gums are healthy. The same can be true of mild, temporary gum irritation.
If you notice these symptoms for more than a day or two, it’s time to see a dentist!
Over time, gingivitis develops into periodontal disease – the form of the disease a general dentist usually means when talking about “gum disease.” During the advanced stage, the gums are eroded by the infection. If it goes untreated, it can permanently destroy bone. This leads to the loss of many teeth, and could result in a life-threatening systemic infection.
Your General Dentist Advises You on Gum Disease Prevention
Although many people do have gingivitis, it’s possible to halt the progress of the disease and even stop it for good through regular dental care. Some steps you should take to protect your gums include:
You should brush your teeth each morning, at night, and within about 30 minutes of every meal. Brushing disrupts the formation of biofilm, which ultimately hardens into plaque. Without plaque, gingivitis cannot spread and damage gums.
Floss as Much as You Can
Flossing is tough for many people. However, even doing it once in a while is better than not at all. If you’re not flossing yet, start by doing it once a week. Using a hand-held “floss wand” or a water flosser can make the process faster, easier, and more effective.
Massage the Gums
Your gums provide a constant supply of blood to your teeth. Even if you don’t have time to sit down and brush, spending two minutes gently massaging the gums with a soft, manual brush can help keep gums strong and resistant to infection.
Maintain the Mouth’s pH Balance
Your mouth naturally fights off infection through its production of saliva. If you suffer from dry mouth, be sure to see a general dentist as soon as you can to get to the root of the problem. Sugar-free gum can help promote saliva production.
For help from a trusted general dentist, contact Landmark Dental Group.