Are you worried about the bit of blood you noticed on your toothbrush when brushing your teeth today? Has it been a regular occurrence? This is one of several early warning signs of gingivitis.
Gingivitis means gingiva or inflammation of the gums, and it’s the mildest form of gum disease. It’s basically non-destructive at this point, but if it goes untreated, it progresses to periodontitis, which is a more severe form of gum disease.
Gingivitis is an infection that occurs when there is a plaque buildup on the teeth and gums. Plaque contains bacteria that irritate the gums hence causing inflammation.
It causes redness and irritation, making it highly critical that you take it seriously and have it treated promptly. Both gingivitis and periodontitis are known to raise the risks of other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, pneumonia, and cancer. Early detection is your best bet, so get gingivitis treatment as soon as possible.
What Are the Signs That You Need Gingivitis Treatment?
How do you know if you have gingivitis? Gum disease is not often talked about, but it’s more prevalent than you may think. As a matter of fact, about 65 million US adults have some form of gum disease. If not caught at an early stage, while still gingivitis, it could cause severe consequences on your overall health. Before it’s too late, here are signs that you have gingivitis.
1. Bleeding Gums
This is the first sure sign of gingivitis. You see, your gums are not supposed to bleed when you brush your teeth, floss, or even eat hard foods. Therefore, if you notice blood in the sink when you brush, it’s possible the bacteria buildup along your gum line is the cause.
2. Receding Gums
When you look at your teeth in the mirror, do you notice that they are getting longer? No, your teeth are not getting longer. Your gums are receding from the base of your teeth, creating a pocket, and making the teeth seem longer.
3. Sensitive Teeth
Does sipping cold teeth make you wince? If so, this is a sign that you may need gingivitis treatment. This symptom goes hand in hand with receding gums because they expose the sensitive parts of your teeth known as the dentin.
4. Wiggly Teeth
Gum disease weakens the bones holding the teeth together. When this happens, your teeth loosen and start to shift. This is a later sign of gingivitis, and you may be very close to periodontitis unless you get gingivitis treatment soon.
5. Bad Breath
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is another sign you may need gingivitis treatment. The bacteria buildup in unhealthy gums can multiply quickly and reproduce, causing bad breath. There may be other reasons for bad breath, which is why you need to see a dentist and have it confirmed.
6. Swollen Gums
If you have tender, swollen, and inflamed gums, there is a high chance you have gingivitis. Inflammation usually occurs when gums try to eject all that unhealthy bacteria that are causing the infection. Swelling and redness are bad for your overall oral health as it may compromise not just your gums, but bone structure as well.
7. Plaque Buildup
Plaque buildup is the primary cause of gum disease, and it happens when you don’t brush or floss regularly. Plaque is a sticky film that sticks to the teeth, and if not removed adequately, it could turn into tartar, which will eventually lead to periodontitis.
8. Teeth Clenching and Grinding
If you regularly grind your teeth, whether knowingly or otherwise, you stand the risk of gum disease. Grinding and clenching your teeth places excessive force on your gums and the supporting tissue, which speeds up the rate at which you contract gingivitis.
If you continuously smoke, there is a very high chance that you are at the risk of contracting gum disease. Tobacco provides an open door for infection-causing bacteria, which could easily lead to gingivitis. If you haven’t seen a dentist lately, then it may be time for you to know if you need gingivitis treatment.
10. Chronic Stress
There are multiple things that lead to chronic stress, and gum disease is one of them. Chronic stress may increase your chances of developing gum disease. If you have been feeling frazzled lately, you may want to visit your dentist.
Gingivitis Risk Factors
There are several factors that lead to gingivitis, and you should be well aware of what they are. Some of them include:
- Poor oral health
- Dry mouth
- Poor nutrition
- Illnesses that decrease immunity such as leukemia
- Hormonal changes related to menopause, birth control, or pregnancy
- Medical conditions such as fungal infections
Apart from periodontitis, bad gingivitis could also lead to trench mouth. Also known as necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis or NUG is severe gingivitis that not only causes bleeding gums but severe pain and ulcerations. It’s not very common, but it’s always a possibility.
Besides that, chronic gingiva has been associated with systemic diseases such as coronary artery disease, respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, and more.
There are several ways you can prevent bad gingivitis, and regular dental visits are one of them. If you haven’t seen your dentist for a long time, it’s about time you paid them a visit. Make checkups as regular as twice a year to the dentist can diagnose problems at an early stage.
Beyond that, you need to observe proper oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily. If possible, brush after meals and avoid eating after you brush before going to bed. Leading a healthy lifestyle also plays a significant role in your overall oral health.
Go Get Your Checkup!
If you have experienced one or more of the symptoms above, there’s a chance you may have gingivitis. It’s best that you visit your dentist right away to get gingivitis treatment. The dentist will identify your risks for gum disease and other possible oral health problems. If you’d like to know more about better oral health hygiene, check out our comprehensive advice.