Do you have red, irritated or swollen gums? Do your gums bleed when you brush and floss? You may have gum disease, an infection that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth.
There are two major forms of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. The earlier stage and most mild form, gingivitis, is caused by the buildup of plaque around the gum line which causes inflammation. Without proper brushing and flossing, the plaque will continue to accumulate and trap bacteria, worsening symptoms and complicating treatment. Other symptoms of gingivitis, such as gum tenderness, spaces between the gums and teeth, and gums that bleed easily may occur.
When gingivitis is treated early, it can be reversed. Unfortunately, many symptoms of gingivitis go unnoticed and untreated. If you notice bleeding gums, treatment may be necessary to prevent the progression to periodontitis, an advanced stage of gum disease that causes tooth and bone loss. For this reason, immediate treatment is necessary to avoid further damage and tooth loss caused by infected gums.
Causes of Gingivitis
Gingivitis is caused by plaque — the sticky, colorless film of bacteria that is produced by a combination of food debris and saliva and forms on the teeth and gums. When plaque is not regularly removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that irritate the gum tissue. This can cause swelling, redness and bleeding.
Gingivitis may also have other causes, including:
- Changes in hormones
- Certain diseases, such as cancer and diabetes
- Medications, especially those that reduce saliva flow
- Family history
One out of every two adults in the U.S. aged 30 and older has some form of gum disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But just because gingivitis is prevalent doesn’t mean it is inevitable. The importance of daily oral hygiene and regular checkups with your dentist cannot be overstated as a critical way to identify gum disease in its early stages, especially since many symptoms of gum disease are painless.
If you notice signs of gingivitis, it’s important to schedule an appointment with Natomas Crossing Dental Care right away. When you suspect you have swollen gums, treatment from a professional can result in a complete gingivitis cure and prevent the disease from affecting your long-term oral health.
In many cases, gingivitis that is caught early can be eliminated entirely with non-surgical treatments and preventive care. Deep cleaning treatments, also called scaling and root planing, help to remove plaque from exposed parts of the teeth and gums. Antibacterial rinses and more frequent in-office cleanings may also be recommended to reduce inflammation and treat gingivitis. In more serious cases, gingivitis surgery may be necessary.
Our dentists educate patients about the best practices for managing and preventing gingivitis at home, including proper brushing and flossing techniques. Remember, the success of gum disease management is largely attributed to proper home care. Diligent oral hygiene habits are your best defense against gingivitis and gum disease.
Trust Natomas Crossing Dental Care with Your Gum Conditions
At Natomas Crossing Dental Care, we believe that healthy gums form the foundation for a healthy mouth. Bleeding or tender gums are not normal, and the condition will not go away on its own. In fact, it is a sign you may be suffering from some type of gum disease.
Our experienced dentists have the skill and knowledge to diagnose and treat various forms of gum disease. Based on the severity of your condition, our dentists will recommend effective treatment that can restore your gums to their original, healthy state. Contact our office today to learn more or to schedule your next visit.