What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and the only good things about it are it can be prevented with good oral hygiene then reversed once it occurs. The condition starts when bacteria stick to the teeth and the gums and are not brushed away. They form a sticky film called dental plaque, and when this plaque comes in contact with foods, the bacteria eat it. As they do so they secrete acids and enzymes that irritate the gums and even destroy the enamel that protects the teeth. Moreover, plaque can invade the tight areas in between the teeth and become especially hard to remove.
With gingivitis, the person notices that their gums are red and puffy around at least one of their teeth. Without proper care, the swelling and redness become worse, and the gums may easily bleed. When the person brushes their teeth they may notice streaks of red in the sink from their irritated and bleeding gums. Sometimes the gums are tender or sensitive, but some people are not aware that there is something wrong until they take a close look at their teeth. If gingivitis is not treated, it can progress to a more serious disease called periodontitis.
There are several things a person can do to prevent gingivitis. They include:
Smoking has a deleterious effect on just about every bodily system, including the mouth. Medical experts don’t know exactly why smoking wreaks such havoc on oral health, but they believe that smoking weakens the person’s immune system and makes gingivitis that much harder to treat.
Avoiding Sugary Foods
Foods that are full of sugars and simple carbohydrates should be eaten sparingly. These are the substances that support the growth of colonies of harmful bacteria.
Some experts in dental health no longer believe that flossing is a requirement. Others believe it is a good way to remove particles of food in the tight spaces between the teeth that encourage the growth of harmful bacteria. Many dentists believe that their patients should floss at least once a day. Systems that use water to floss the teeth are also good to use and may even be more effective than regular string floss.
Brushing After Meals
Brushing after each and every meal is not practical for many people, but they should still brush their teeth at least once a day. One bit of advice is to wait at least a half an hour before brushing after a meal to allow the tooth enamel to remineralize. Some acidic foods cause enamel to soften and brushing too soon after a meal can remove some of it. Dentists recommend toothbrushes with soft bristles that are gentle on both the teeth and the gums. Electric toothbrushes are also recommended as they remove even more plaque from the teeth.
Rinsing With Antibacterial Mouthwash
Antibacterial mouthwashes help reduce the levels of bacteria that lead to gingivitis. Many of these mouthwashes also come with fluoride, so they strengthen the teeth as well as fight dental plaque.
Visiting the Dentist
It’s important that a person visit their local dentist or another dentist in Calgary at least twice a year for cleaning, and they should make an appointment with the dentist if they notice that their gums are bleeding or inflamed. The dentist can deep clean the teeth to remove plaque and calculus even from the “pockets” in between the teeth and around the teeth’s roots. Calculus is a hardened form of plaque that is very hard for a layperson to remove.
It is simple and easy to take care of the gums and avoid gingivitis. Avoiding gingivitis also avoids more serious gum problems, some of which can lead to the loss of otherwise healthy teeth.