Gingivitis is a more frequent problem than many of us realize. Fortunately, it is also easily treatable. With proper dental care, you can prevent gingivitis—and even reverse the condition! Here’s what you need to do to keep gingivitis at bay.
What Is Gingivitis?
First, before diving into preventing and reversing gingivitis, let’s go into what it is and the symptoms.
Simply put, gingivitis is caused by the long-term build-up of plaque. Plaque is a regular part of your teeth. It is formed every day when the bacteria in your mouth mixes with the foods you eat. Foods high in sugar especially foster the plaque creation process. Typically, you have 24 hours before the plaque fully forms, so daily teeth brushing is extremely important.
If you leave the plaque to harden, it becomes tartar, a naturally created layer of protection for bacteria. The build-up of tartar is what leads to gingivitis. At first, gingivitis is not extremely painful, but as it progresses, the pain worsens, and teeth can be lost.
Swollen gums are the first indicator in most cases. Other symptoms include tender gums that bleed even during gentle brushing and flossing, gums that appear bright red or purple, and bad breath. The bad breath is a result of the pocketing that occurs between your teeth and gum line.
What to Do if You Have Gingivitis
First, don’t panic. Gingivitis mostly occurs do to inconsistent dental care and bad habits. Gingivitis can be reversed in almost every case. There are a few basic steps that everyone should take to reverse their Gingivitis.
1. Get Regular Cleanings
Professional cleanings should occur at least twice a year. This allows dentists to check your teeth and give you advice for taking care of your teeth. Dentists are also able to detect any build-up of plaque or tartar. The dental hygienist can remove this build-up.
2. Brush and Floss Daily
Daily brushing and flossing are essential. Brushing should occur at least twice a day (once in the morning, once in the afternoon). This is because when you brush your teeth, you eliminate the plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. This covers about 60% already of your teeth. Flossing covers the remaining 40%. The floss removes food particles and plaque from between your teeth and under your gum line.
3. Use Mouthwash
Using mouthwash daily also helps to kill the bacteria in your mouth. The fewer bacteria there are, the less plaque that is able to build up in the first place. Just be gentle with the mouthwash—too much will kill all the bacteria in your mouth and leave it dry and uncomfortable.
How to Prevent Gingivitis
Preventing gingivitis is simple. The advice for preventing gingivitis is the same as the advice for reversing it. Go to the dentist every six months (at least twice a year), brush and floss daily, and use mouthwash. However, beyond these oral hygiene basics, there are some further lifestyle changes that could further reduce your chances of getting gingivitis.
Tobacco is a huge risk factor for developing periodontitis. This is the inflammation of the gums and supporting structures of the teeth. This directly leads to gingivitis. Smoking also lowers the success rate of some treatments. Vaping is not any better, as most vape pens contain more concentrated doses of tobacco. The best thing to do is to quit altogether.
Stress affects your body’s immune system, which makes it difficult to fight off infections. Since we are talking about an infection of the mouth, stress directly affects this.
If you are not getting the right nutrients, your teeth can’t grow strong and healthy. Missing out on key nutrients for growth like vitamin E and vitamin C means that you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. If you have a lack of these vitamins, it could lead to infected gums and a weaker immune system. You can stock up on these vitamins by eating a lot of leafy green vegetables, broccoli, and potatoes (among other foods).
Clenching and Grinding
If you are constantly putting pressure on the supporting tissue of the teeth, it increases the rate at which they are being destroyed. This means that they become weaker and more susceptible to infections. Speak to your dentist about getting fitted for a mouth guard or to get advice for managing the tension in your mouth and jaw. This plays into destressing as well.
Tried Everything and Need a Faster Solution?
It may be that you’ve tried all the above, but nothing seems to help. Take a deep breath. Even trying all the techniques and advice list above sometimes isn’t enough although that does not mean that they should be ignored or dropped. Sometimes the gingivitis is at the stage where it needs to be looked at by a professional. In these cases, make sure that you have a list of symptoms and are ready to go to a dentist.
Do not let financial constraints stop you from seeking the help you need. Gum disease is a costly and time-consuming issue but one that can be treated early. Once in later stages, gum disease takes years off an individual’s life, so it’s important to act as soon as possible.
Luckily, most insurances cover dental check-ups, and there are always payment plans to get you the care you need. Make sure that the team you contact makes you feel comfortable and confident in their services.
It’s most important that you are happy with the quality of treatment you are getting. Gingivitis can also be an embarrassing disease, with the aspects of bleeding gums and bad breath. The team you contact should not shy away from helping you or make you feel bad about the quality of your teeth.
Our team at Valley Ridge Dental Centre is happy to help you overcome gingivitis. We do in-depth cleanings and customize treatment to the level of pain that the patient is experiencing.