You may have heard us bring up gingivitis in your dental appointments. Commercials for oral health products are also filled with warnings on how to avoid and treat it. Although it’s a common affliction, affecting nearly half of all American adults, it can become a serious issue if not addressed. We want to give you some information about gingivitis and what you can do about it.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gum tissue in your mouth. It’s caused by bacteria feeding off of sugar and turning into plaque on your teeth. The plaque causes the gum line to become irritated and inflamed and can lead to reddish gums or bleeding while you floss. If you’ve noticed bleeding during brushing, flossing, or having teeth cleaned, you may have gingivitis. It’s important to treat gingivitis in the early stages before it fully affects the gums and bone.
Once it becomes a deeper issue, it’s called periodontitis, or gum disease. Gum disease can increase your risks of receding gums, losing teeth, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. For these reasons, you should take it seriously and do everything you can to prevent it. The good news is that by making simple adjustments to your dental routine, you can expect a noticeable difference in the health of your gums.
5 Easy Things You Can Do About It
1. Floss Daily
We can’t stress this enough. Flossing your teeth daily gets to the space in between teeth where food may be hiding. Remember, this food feeds bacteria that turn into plaque, so it’s important to get it out to prevent problems. Floss once a day.
2. Brush Teeth for 2 Minutes Each Time
Most people don’t realize that it is necessary to brush for 2 whole minutes to sufficiently clean teeth. You can set a timer on your phone, or if you’re using an electric toothbrush, most have timers that turn the device off at exactly 2 minutes.
3. Use a Gingivitis-Fighting Mouthwash
Using a mouthwash with antimicrobial properties has been shown to improve gingivitis. Check the ingredients for cetylpyridinium chloride or chlorhexidine.
4. Watch Your Sugar Intake
As mentioned, bacteria feed off of sugar in your diet. The less sugar you eat, the less likely you’ll be to develop dental problems like cavities and gum disease. Reducing sugar means not only candies and sweets but also bread and starchy carbohydrates.
5. Visit Our Office for Routine Check-Ups & Cleaning
Routine dental cleaning appointments are necessary for healthy teeth. Even if you’re doing everything you can at home, only our tools can scrape off plaque and tartar. We’ll advise you on how to brush better, or which products we recommend specifically for your teeth. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!