Gingivitis is among the most common oral health issues. It is especially prevalent in adults over 40. If it is left untreated, this early form of periodontal disease can lead to significant oral health issues. However, it can be effectively treated if it is caught soon enough. In many cases, it can be reversed. Here is what you need to know about gingivitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis
Gingivitis often leads to swollen gums that appear red or purple, painful or tender. It can also involve bleeding when brushing and flossing. Bad breath (halitosis) is another frequent side-effect of gingivitis. A buildup of plaque or tartar is sometimes visible as well. Many people have gingivitis without knowing it, as symptoms do not always appear in the early stages.
Gingivitis can usually be prevented through proper oral hygiene habits. Your best line of defense is brushing twice daily for two minutes each time. It is also essential to clean between your teeth daily by flossing. This helps to prevent the buildup of plaque and harmful bacteria. As plaque builds up near the gum line, gingivitis can develop.
Gingivitis is the first of four stages of periodontal disease and the only one that can be completely reversed. If left untreated, it progresses to slight periodontal disease. This occurs when infection has spread and begun to attack the bone beneath. The second stage can be managed but not reversed. Moderate periodontal disease is the third stage. It results in deeper pockets around teeth which invite even more bacteria to attack the jawbones. Finally, advanced periodontal disease causes extreme sensitivity, loosened teeth, and bone loss.
It is easy to see why it is important to monitor your gum health regularly. Talk to our experienced periodontal team if you have experienced symptoms of gingivitis. If you smoke, have diabetes, are elderly, or take certain medications, you are at a higher risk for developing gingivitis. Be good to your gums by brushing twice each day and flossing daily. Keeping your teeth free of plaque is the simplest way to keep your gums healthy. For questions about your periodontal health or to schedule a visit to our office in Alexandria, please contact us.
Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria, VA 22302