Gingivitis is a common gum disease that causes the gums to become swollen and red and bleed easily especially when brushing or flossing. The condition is entirely preventable and easily reversible. But left untreated gingivitis becomes a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
The space where your gums attach to your teeth is called the sulcus. Food particles and plaque can get trapped in the sulcus and cause an infection. Lack of proper oral care greatly contributes to gingivitis. Other risk factors include diabetes, pregnancy, smoking, certain medications, misaligned teeth, compromised immune system and even your genetics.
How gingivitis can be prevented
Preventative care is vital in inhibiting and combating gum disease. The most important ways you can care for your gums and dental health is to practice good oral hygiene and book regular dental cleanings and check-ups.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
Brushing your teeth in the morning and at night removes plaque before it hardens to tartar and becomes more challenging to remove. Gently brush all of your tooth surfaces in short strokes and at a 45-degree angle along the gum line to remove bacteria.
- Use a soft or extra-soft bristle toothbrush
Using a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles is gentler on your gum tissue and kinder to your tooth surface especially if you experience tooth sensitivity. Gum scratches can happen easily when using a toothbrush with hard bristles enabling bacteria to penetrate the gum tissue.
Always replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. Your dentist in Southend can recommend the most effective toothbrush for your oral health.
- Floss at least once a day
Flossing helps remove hardened plaque and food particles from hard-to-reach places near the gum line. If food and plaque remain in these areas they can cause a tartar buildup, which is a hard bacterium that only dentists and hygienists can remove. Tartar can lead to gum disease if left untreated.
- Rinse with salt water
Saltwater can help to reduce dental bacteria because for a short period it increases the pH balance of the mouth creating an environment where bacteria struggle to survive. Bacteria thrives and reproduces off an acidic environment. Using a salt water rinse can help give your teeth a break from the bacteria.
- Use natural mouthwash
A good mouthwash can help to prevent gum disease by reducing the speed that tartar accumulates. Mouthwash can help to remove plaque and food debris on your teeth that brushing and flossing may leave behind. Never use a mouthwash as a substitute for brushing, but instead to complement your oral hygiene regime.
- Avoid smoking and chewing tobacco
Smoking lowers your immune system making you more susceptible to gingivitis. If you smoke and have gum disease, it will be harder to fight off the bacteria, even with medication. Using other tobacco products may also increase your risk of gum disease.
- Reduce sugar intake
Sugar causes your mouth to become acidic which causes more bacteria growth. The bacteria feed off the sugar and attaches itself to your teeth and gums. If the bacteria harden along your gum tissue it can cause gum disease. Limit fizzy drinks, fruit juices, sweets, biscuits, cakes and canned fruit to help reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Reducing sugar intake significantly reduces the number of bad bacteria your mouth produces.
Remember to visit a dentist
If you have gingivitis that is left unchecked, it can cause the gum tissue to separate from the teeth. This causes injury to the supporting tissue to the teeth which leads to tooth loss.
Your dentist can detect early signs of gingivitis and prevent it from worsening. Your dentist can even determine if you are at risk for gingivitis based on your medical history so always ensure you keep your record current and your dentist informed of changes in your overall health.
Visiting your hygienist bi-yearly, or more often if necessary, can also remove the tartar buildup on your teeth and prevent gingivitis.
Located on the Southchurch Road, Parmar Dental is a multi-award-winning dentistry in Southend-On-Sea, England offering high standard and quality dental treatments that patients always expect. Parmar Dental provides dental care in a very relaxed and tranquil environment, where each visit is a unique experience for their patients.