What is Gingivitis and What to Do to Prevent It

Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss? Is it sore or outright painful when you eat? Do you have bad breath that mouthwash doesn’t cover up? Are your gums red or purple and swollen? Do they feel squishy, like a gummy bear? Do your gums look like they are receding? It’s very possible you have gingivitis.

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of tissues around the teeth (also known as your gums or gingiva). When it first starts, you may not even notice it. It is the very early development stage of “Periodontitis”. The gums become red and painfully swollen at this stage. Eventually it gets to the point where is causes bleeding when you floss or even brush your teeth. It can also cause sleepless nights with an aching mouth.

How to know if you have gingivitis?

These are the symptoms of gingivitis that will help you know if you have one:

  • Swollen and Red Gums
  • Pain
  • Frequent Gum Bleeding
  • Receding Gums
  • Halitosis or Bad Breath
  • Fever (Early Stage)
  • General Feeling of Being Unwell
  • Bleeding on Tooth Brushing

What are some causes of gingivitis?

Poor oral hygiene is a primary cause of gingivitis. Bacteria build up around your gum line, causing a sticky plaqueto form on your teeth. If you don’t remove it, it hardens into tartar which in turn irritates the gums, causing them to inflame. This is why adequate brushing and flossing is required!

Did you know that regular smokers get gingivitis more often than non-smokers? Harmful substances such as nicotine and tar from cigarettes (or chewing tobacco) get introduced into the body. It should be no surprise that these can cause stains on teeth, halitosis, gum problems, oral thrush, cancers, cavities or tooth decay, etc. Nicotine also interferes with how our body responds to bacteria as it impairs thebody’simmune functions.

Hormone changes during puberty, menopause and the menstrual cycle can also cause sensitivity in the gingiva.

Pregnancy is another possible cause. As stated by PubMed.gov, ovarian hormones such as estrogen and progesterone rise at this stage causing pregnant women to be more likely to experience gingivitis. It is said that gingivitis generally occurs to 60-75% of pregnant women, but if they practice good oral hygiene in the beginning of pregnancy, the rate will only be 0.3%.

Nutritional Deficiency is also a possible cause. Lack of good nutrition can affect one’s health causing various health problems including gingivitis. Vitamin C deficiency is linked to gum disease (think scurvy).

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) leads to a higher risk of gingivitis. Having HIV is a serious matter, it reduces the immune system’s effectiveness which affects all the body systems. The mouth will be a good indication if you have an immunodeficiency through observing it. At an early stage of HIV, several symptoms will show up especially in your mouth.

  • Dryness of Mouth & Cavities
  • Oral lesions
  • Thrush
  • Gum Disease/Gingivitis
  • Hairy Leukoplakia (A condition causing white lesions, or patches, on the tongue)
  • Periodontitis
  • Oral Cancer

These symptoms might give you a sign whether you have existing HIV or not. But, the most effective way in knowing such is to get tested and you’re off to go. Getting tested is far more reliable than doubting yourself.

Medications may also lead to gingivitis. Drugs like anticonvulsants, calcium channel blockers, and immunosuppressants can cause gingival overgrowth. Make sure that the next time you visit your dentist, you mention ALL medications and supplements you are (or were) taking.

Diabetics have to be even more careful. If you’re diabetic and you accidentally brushed your teeth hard, you could cause your gums to become inflamed or swollen. Because you have high levels of blood glucose, it can take significantly longer for your gingivitis to heal. This is because decreased blood circulation makes it hard for the body to repair wounds. If you are diabetic and suspect gingivitis, you should seek medical assistance right away.

Stress is linked to suppressing the immune system which will affect the general functions in the body which can lead to gum disease.

How do you treat gingivitis?

  • The cure starts within you. Always make to brush your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning and at night. Be smart in choosing toothbrush as their textures could differ.
  • Soft bristled toothbrush is highly recommended. When brushing your teeth, don’t scrub too hard as it will irritate the swollen gums and may cause bleeding.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
  • Flossing is also a good way to deep clean your teeth and gum line.
  • Stop smoking. This is a very important advice for all smokers, your oral health is not just in danger, you are prone to lung cancer and other health risks.

Maintaining proper oral hygiene is imperitive. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it can be one of the easiest things to help ensure good health.

As part of proper oral hygiene, visiting your dentist every 6 – 9 months is highly advisable. If you have multiple factors affecting your risk of gingivitis, it may be recommended that you come more often.

If you have pain or bleeding in your mouth or think you have gingivitis a check up and cleaning may be all it takes but we’ll be able to put you on the path to proper oral care.

Give us a call at 587 317 7713 Or CLICK HERE to contact us

 

Common oral infections that can damage your teeth and health

 

Many people are just ignoring the fact that they need to take proper care of their oral health. Improper hygiene, vices and physical contact are just some of the causes of the infections that can occur within the mouth. Being aware of what’s going on with your mouth is one of the most important things to know.

very decayed teeth caused bacteria
bacteria cause massive tooth decay

    Massive Tooth Decay

This blog will empower you with knowledge and inform you about the common infections that may occur in your mouth

Tooth decay: also called dental carries or cavities. Imagine your teeth are breaking down due to acids that are caused by bacteria. If you are experiencing pain whilst eating, or are noticing pits in the tooth surface, the chances are you already have tooth decay. It may still be reversible if you catch it is time. Regular flossing and brushing along with dental cleanings and checkups can help prevent having to fill a cavity.

Gingivitis: this is the baby brother of periodontitis, and if you let this one slide, you’re probably going to regret it. Gingivitis is caused by plaque that becomes attached to your tooth surfaces. Regularly going to your dentist for teeth cleaning is important as they will remove the plaque for you. Better yet is practicing good oral hygiene, especially flossing to make sure the areas your brush can’t reach get properly cleaned. Don’t ignore gingivitis as it could cause your teeth may fall out in the future. Isn’t five minutes a day worth the investment?

Gingivitis can cause extreme pain and cause issues with your teeth
Gingivitis can cause extreme pain and cause issues with your teeth

Gum Disease: a.k.a. periodontal disease, this one makes your gums more inflamed than gingivitis and affects the tissue around your teeth. The tissue pulls away from the tooth leaving pockets where particles can get trapped, causing an infection. If you have ignored your gingivitis before, I suggest that you not let this one pass. If you are having troubles with your gums already, you should go visit your dentist immediately.

Cold Sores: a.k.a. oral herpes is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are names for every herpes infection that occur in your body. Oral herpes is a very visible infection that occurs on your face or in your mouth. If your lip starts itching or maybe you already have fever blisters, chances are good this is a cold sore. Cold sores may take two to four weeks to disappear. While the cold sore is present, you’ll probably feel pinching-like pain at the affected area. Herpes will usually let itself show for a period of time with some active cases, but it will also decrease depending on severity. There are medicated creams that can help speed the process of healing the outbreak. Herpes is not limited to cold sores so watch out for unexplained fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain, and headaches as the first symptoms to be concerned about.                                                                                          

Taking care of your oral health is simple and easy. Brush after meals and before bed and floss once or twice a day. There are many electric toothbrushes that can help make this a light task. There are also many aids to make flossing less of a bother as well. Having bad oral health is not something to be proud of and can cause far-reaching health issues. Start to change this pattern now, come in and see us for your checkup.

 

We’d be happy to help put you back on the road to a healthy, happy smile.

Give us a call at 587 317 7713 or Click Here to contact us.

 

 

High-Risk Dental Factors from Diabetes: Part 1 – What You Should Know   

If you have diabetes, you’re most probably aware of the problems to your body this disease can cause. But, were you aware high blood sugar, due to diabetes, also affects your teeth and gums?

 

The fact is, high blood sugar can increase your risk of:

 

Cavities:

  • It’s a known fact that sugar contributes to the level of plaque build-up in your mouth. The higher your blood sugar level, the more plaque build-up you can expect. If not properly taken care of, you can count on having cavities.

 

progression of gum disease
progression of gum disease

Gingivitis:

  • You’ve probably heard the terms ‘tartar’ and ‘plaque’ used interchangeably by some people. But they are two different things. The fact is tartar is hardened plaque that builds up under your gum line. Diabetes affects the way your body fights bacteria which begins the process of forming plaque. If you don’t stay on top of eliminating the bacteria through regular brushing and flossing, the plaque forms, and tartar begins to affect the gums at the base of your teeth. This process leads to gingivitis.

 

Periodontitis:

  • If gingivitis isn’t treated properly, periodontitis sets in which begins to eat away at the bone and soft tissue that actually support your teeth. This can lead to tooth loss. People with diabetes tend to have more severe cases of periodontitis because they’re slower to heal and have a weakened ability to fight infection. As an aside, periodontitis can also make your blood sugar levels rise.

 

In this case, if you have diabetes, the best defense if a good offence. Brushing and flossing without fail is a great way to ward of these issues.

 

In addition to this topic, we’re pleased to offer a FREE report that provides information vital to forming good dental habits. Why not get your copy now? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GUM DISEASE, is just a click away. And it’s absolutely FREE.

 

Also, for further information, make an appointment, or have a question answered, you’re more than welcome to call us at West Airdrie Dental at 587 317 7713 or click here to visit our website.