Information on the Causes of gingivitis and gum diseases symptoms such as swollen and painful bleeding gums.

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  1. What is Gingivitis?
  2. What Causes Gingivitis?
  3. Diagnosing Gingivitis
  4. Help for Gingivitis
  5. More Information on Gingivitis

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a condition characterized by the swelling and inflammation of the gums. This condition usually affects each of us at some point in our lives. Very often people are not even aware that they have gingivitis because symptoms may be mild.

For this reason if you notice that your gums are swollen or inflamed, or that the bristles of your toothbrush are slightly pink, you may have gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss.

The common symptoms and signs include:

  • Swollen, red gums
  • Tender, soft gums
  • Gums that bleed when brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Gums change color from a healthy pink to red

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis develops as a result of a build up of plaque. This sticky substance is composed mainly of bacteria that irritate the gums and gradually causes them to become inflamed, swollen and bleed.

There are certain factors that contribute to this condition and these include:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Poor fitting dental restoration
  • Injury to gums
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Pregnancy
  • Viral or fungal infections
  • Weak immune system as a result of HIV/AIDS or leukemia
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Aging
  • Certain medications
  • Substance abuse

Diagnosing Gingivitis

The diagnosis of gingivitis is based on the symptoms and signs presented, thorough examination of your mouth, tongue and gums as well as a review of your dental history. Your dentist will also check for bleeding and plaque and tartar buildup.

Help for Gingivitis

There are various types of treatments for gingivitis which include deep cleaning methods such as scaling and root planning to scrape and remove plaque and tartar from teeth above and below the gum line. Brushing your teeth properly twice daily (in the mornings and before bedtime), using an antiseptic mouth rinse and flossing will also make a significant difference and should become part of your oral hygiene program.

Your dentist may have to fix dental restorations such as bridges, poorly fitted crowns or misaligned teeth. With professional cleaning and by practicing proper dental hygiene habits, gingivitis will disappear and healthy gums will be restored.

More Information on Gingivitis

Tips to prevent gingivitis

There are several ways to prevent gingivitis and maintain overall dental health and these include:

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly every morning and before bedtime for at least 2 to 3 minutes. If possible, brush your teeth after meal times
  • Floss your teeth daily before brushing to remove plaque from those hard-to-reach places in your mouth
  • Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride to help fight gum disease and prevents plaque build up
  • Use an electric toothbrush for more thorough cleaning (they are more effective than manual toothbrushes and are able to remove plaque below the gum line)
  • Replace toothbrushes every three months because new toothbrushes remove plaque more easily than used ones
  • Rinse your mouth with a mouthwash to prevent plaque, kill bacteria breeding in the mouth and reduce gingivitis
  • Scrape the tongue using a tongue depressor or wooden stick to remove bacteria
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet that contains fresh vegetables and fruit
  • Reduce your intake of sweets and sugary foods
  • Stop smoking as it destroys gum tissue, causes tartar formation and bone loss
  • Avoid long term use of certain drugs such as antidepressants, antihistamines or muscle relaxants as they dry out the mouth and can cause tooth decay and gum disease
  • Visit your dentist every six months for routine checkups
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