Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What is gingivitis and who has it?

According to recent studies, 50% of the US adult population is affected by gingivitis. Gingivitis is a very common and early form of gum disease. If left untreated can cause a mouth full of troubles.

To begin, how does gingivitis form. Sometimes brushing and flossing teeth is forgotten, when this happens a bacteria film develops on the outer layer of each tooth, called plaque. The plaque releases acids that break down tooth enamel causing tooth decay. After 72 hours the plaque solidifies and becomes tartar build up around gum lines. Tartar is very hard to clean off completely and it causes irritation to the gums, in return causing gingivitis.

According to WebMD, "Emerging research also suggests that people can be genetically more susceptible to developing gingivitis."

Symptoms of gingivitis include but aren't limited to: red swollen gums, bleeding gums (especially when flossing), sore gums that are tender to touch and/or mouth sores. Next time you brush and floss your teeth, pay close attention to your gums. Nearly 29% of American's assume bleeding during this process is normal, and that is not the case. Healthy gums should be light pink with no sensitivity to touch and no bleeding.

Want to know the good news? Gingivitis can be reversed. 

Here are few steps to help reduce the risk of gingivitis. 

1. Make sure you don't forget to brush two times a day and floss at least once. If you're forgetful, post reminders in your bathroom. Mouthwash is also helpful, there are antigingivitis, antibacterial, or antiseptic mouth rinse options. Use this after you brush your teeth to help clean out your gum pockets and clean any hard to reach spots.

2. If you don't see your Dentist and Hygienist regularly, start doing so. The hygienist is able to give a more thorough cleaning and help clear away plaque and tartar build up. It's important to have 2 cleaning appointments a year. If gingivitis worsens, it causes periodontal gum disease and instead of just 2 cleanings, 4 may be recommended after having a more serious gum treatment appointment. 

3. Eat healthy. It's a lifestyle change and probably can't be changed over night. If you drink a lot of soda a week and eat a lot of junk food, take baby steps to eliminating junk food in your regular diet. It's okay to have desserts in moderation, just be mindful. Not only will this help with excellent oral hygiene, it will also help with your body's overall health. And if you choose to have a soda or sweet snack, rinse your mouth with mouthwash to try to help move some of the sugars from your teeth and gums.

4. Smoking. We know we can't just tell a smoker to quit and magically he or she quits with no problem. But here's a bit of information that may start to change your mind about continuing to smoke as often. We all know it's bad for your heart and lungs, but did you know smoking and chewing tobacco puts you at a higher risk for gum disease, which leads to tooth loss? TOOTH LOSS. If you're willing to quit, do it! But just like eliminating junk food, it may not be that easy. Try to smoke less often, and celebrate small victories! If you take out 2 smoke breaks from your week, buy yourself lunch. The process will only get easier as you go, and your teeth and gums will really appreciate it.

If you have questions about whether or not you have gingivitis, ask your hygienist. At Glacier Dental we will let you know how healthy your mouth and gums are and whether or not extra steps are needed to help reverse gingivitis. There are some in office options, including using our pain-free Periolase to help eliminate bad bacteria and reducing gingivitis. Call today to schedule your next continuing care appointment: 


No comments:

Post a Comment