A guide to fighting and preventing gingivitis

November 27, 2013

Gingivitis—a word that makes us all want to keep away from the dentist’s. But regular cleanings will keep you well away from this inflammation of the gums.

A guide to fighting and preventing gingivitis

We often hear about the fight against gingivitis in advertisements for toothpaste or mouthwash, and so we know it’s something we don’t want to have. But what exactly is gingivitis?

Avoiding gingivitis

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that occurs when there is an accumulation of plaque, a sticky clear substance that forms on the teeth every day after we eat and drink. The bacteria that cause tooth decay and provoke gingivitis are found in plaque. Eliminating plaque is the reason why all dentists and dental professionals recommend daily oral care and regular visits to the dental clinic.

The golden rule

  • brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day or, ideally, after each meal
  • floss every day, preferably before bed

Keep an eye on your gums

Both those steps play a key role in preventing gingivitis. However, it is just as important to examine your teeth in the mirror on a regular basis, keeping an eye open for any warning signs. Watch out for the following things:

  • the gums are red instead of their usual pale pink
  • the gums sometimes bleed when brushing your teeth
  • the gums are puffy and swollen

When the diagnosis hits

If you show any of these symptoms, you can assume that gingivitis is present. It is essential that you consult a dentist immediately for his or her professional opinion and an appropriate treatment. Luckily, an early diagnosis can allow you to reverse the situation and reclaim healthy gums.

Warding off gingivitis

  • To treat gingivitis, your dentist will prescribe a good professional cleaning to remove stains and any accumulations of tartar from your teeth and under the gums, around the teeth. After examining your teeth, he or she can also give you some advice tailored to your personal situation.
  • Your dental professional will also recommend that you not smoke in order to avoid gum infections such as gingivitis. It is well known that smoking can cause serious oral problems, including some oral cancers.
  • Good nutrition and low sugar intake are also recommended. Healthy food choices are a part of the fight against gingivitis.

Prevention is best

People of all ages need to consult their dentist for preventive care, and on a regular basis. Your dentist has the knowledge and experience to make a diagnosis when necessary and to establish a proper treatment plan. In cases where gingivitis is at a more advanced stage, your dentist might recommend some strategies to prevent the situation from worsening. You might even be referred to a periodontist, a doctor of dental medicine who specializes in gum disease.

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