gingivitis

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease, often involving bleeding gums, inflammation, and bad breath.

It can be easily reversed with timely attention from a dentist.

How do I know if I have gingivitis?

gingivitis

Primary Symptoms

Inflammation

When infected, gums may appear red or puffy. This occurs because the accumulation of plaque and tartar begins to irritate the gum tissue.

Bleeding

Once the gums become inflamed, they are more prone to bleeding when brushing or flossing

Bad Breath

Medically referred to as halitosis, bad breath is a common side effect of gingivitis.

Before Treatment, Gum Tissue is Irritated

Some People Are More Likely to Develop Gingivitis Than Others

While gingivitis is common, there are certain risk factors that make you more likely to develop the condition, such as:

  • Smoking or using tobacco products
  • Genetics
  • Poor-fitting restorations
  • Teeth grinding
  • Certain medications
  • Diabetes
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Compromised immune system

Additionally, pregnant women often experience gum inflammation and irritation due to hormonal changes.

Plaque and Tartar Cause Gums to Become Infected

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a clear, sticky film that forms on the surface of the teeth when bacteria accumulate

23 - Tatrum Molar (Solid)Created with Sketch.

What Is Tartar?

When plaque remains on the teeth, it eventually hardens, becoming tartar. Tartar spurs gum disease by helping bacteria prosper and multiply.

Why Should I Do Something about It?

Without professional attention, gingivitis can escalate to periodontitis, resulting in gum recession and eventual tooth loss.

Nearly Half of American Adults Suffer from Gum Disease

Your Doctor Can Easily Identify Gingivitis

During an examination, your doctor will evaluate your gums and teeth for signs of gingivitis. He or she will also use a special tool to measure the depth of the pockets between your teeth and gums. Pockets of 4mm or deeper may indicate a more advanced stage of gum disease requiring special care.

measuring periodontal pockets

Three Easy Ways To Reduce Your Risk of Gum Disease

Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

You should brush your teeth twice and floss at least once every day. A well-maintained oral hygiene routine can prevent plaque from accumulating. 

Attending Bi-Annual Cleanings & Exams

During your bi-annual checkup, your teeth will be professionally cleaned to remove plaque and tartar. Your doctor will also perform a comprehensive exam to look for any signs of gingivitis.

Avoiding Harmful Habits

Starchy or sugary foods can increase plaque buildup. Additionally, smoking affects your immune system, making your gums more susceptible to infection and less able to overcome it. Quit smoking and maintain a well-balanced diet to reduce your risk. 

"Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care." American Academy of Periodontology

Reversing Gum Disease

When it is detected early, a professional cleaning and improved at-home care can reverse gum disease. In some cases, a deep cleaning may be necessary to reduce the depth of the pockets between the teeth and gum tissue. During a deep cleaning, known as scaling and root planing, the doctor will remove bacteria and tartar along the tooth surfaces and below the gum line. He or she will then smooth the root surfaces to prevent bacterial accumulation in the future and help the gums reattach.

Schedule a Consultation

If you notice that your gums bleed when you brush or floss, or if you have persistent bad breath, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately. He or she can provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to protect your oral health.

dental consultation

Lake Area Dentistry

The dentists at our family-friendly practice use the latest technology and techniques to enhance your care. We are proud to be affiliated with:

  • American Dental Association
  • Louisiana Dental Association

Set up your first appointment by requesting a consultation or calling our Lake Charles office at (337) 478-8470.

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