Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontal disease affecting approximately 50 percent of adults in the U.S. Unfortunately, many people who have gingivitis are unaware of it, as the condition may cause few symptoms in its earliest stages. Left untreated, however, it can lead to much more serious gum disease and even tooth loss.
Gingivitis is caused by an accumulation of bacteria on the teeth that spread below the gum line. Since bacteria form a hard plaque on the teeth, they are difficult to remove with brushing and flossing alone. Over time, the plaque continues to build, causing a gradual progression of gum inflammation.
Though a dentist is the only person who can diagnose gingivitis, symptoms of the disease are hard to ignore. The obvious signs include red, swollen and bleeding gums, though gingivitis may also cause painful chewing, tooth sensitivity, pockets between the gums and teeth, and even chronically bad breath. If you notice any of these warning signs, schedule an appointment with your dentist right away.
Gingivitis Treatment and Prevention
Since gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, it is much easier to treat than advanced periodontitis, which often causes gum recession and tooth loss. Gingivitis can be treated from the comfort of our office here at Lane Avenue Family Dentistry. Treatment varies from patient to patient, but may include scaling the teeth of harmful plaque and using an antibiotic to treat the gums for infection.
As always, we believe that prevention is the most effective means of managing gum disease. Our staff will also help you identify ways you may be able to prevent recurrences of gingivitis, which may include improved daily hygiene habits and more frequent dental cleanings and check-ups.
Even if you have never had symptoms of gingivitis, we recommend having your teeth cleaned on a regular basis. The longer plaque and tartar are allowed to remain on the teeth, the greater your chances are of developing gum disease. For more information about gingivitis and how you can prevent it, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you soon!