Gingivitis is an early stage of periodontal disease that causes irritation and swelling in the gum area at the base of your teeth. It is usually caused by plaque accumulation due to poor dental hygiene. Advanced age and poor oral habits are common factors linked to gingivitis development. 

Gingivitis is a common disease; its mild symptoms can be easily treated with proper dental care. Flossing and brushing can help prevent and reverse gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis could develop into periodontitis (gum disease), where irreversible bone or other tissue damage may occur.

Gingivitis Signs

Symptoms of gingivitis include the following.

  • Swollen gums
  • Redness in gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Tenderness in gums
  • Bad breath

If you notice any issues with your gums, it could be a sign of gingivitis and should be checked by your dental care provider.

Bad Breath

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be caused by multiple factors and may not be solved with gum, mints, or mouthwash if the root of the problem is not addressed. Certain health habits like smoking or eating certain foods can cause bad breath.

Dental diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis can also be the cause of bad breath and will only resolve if treated properly.

Gingivitis Causes

Gingivitis is usually caused by poor dental hygiene. When food particles mix with saliva and bacteria, a sticky film called plaque adheres to the teeth. If you do not remove plaque by brushing and flossing daily, excess plaque hardens and forms tartar. 

The accumulation of tartar leads to gum irritation, causing swelling and bleeding (gingivitis). Additionally, cavities and other types of dental decay can result from tartar accumulation. If gingivitis is not treated promptly, it can advance into periodontitis and eventual tooth loss.

Gingivitis Risk Factors

The following factors can increase the risk of developing gingivitis: 

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Old age 
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Old dental restorations
  • Worn fillings, crowns, or bridges
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes
  • Pregnancy
  • Medical conditions that decrease immunity, like leukemia or HIV/AIDS

Gingivitis Diagnosis

To determine if you have gingivitis, your doctor will ask some questions to review your dental health and other medical conditions. Once your dentist analyzes the extent of dental decay and takes X-rays of your mouth, they will develop a proper course of treatment for your case.

Gingivitis Treatment

Treatment for gingivitis varies depending on your specific case and the extent of gum recession and inflammation. Once your doctor has reviewed your case, your treatment may include the following options: 

  • Deep dental cleaning: A deep dental cleaning, or SRP, helps remove hardened minerals, such as plaque or tartar, from your teeth and gums to reduce inflammation.
  • Restorative dentistry: Old dental restorations promote plaque accumulation and irritate your gums. Through restorative dentistry, worn-out dental treatment will be removed, and new restorations, crowns, or bridges will be placed.
  • Gingival grafting or Gingivectomy: Gingival grafting aims to cover exposed teeth roots and add volume to the receded gumline.
  • Continuous care: Regular check-ups and dental cleanings will help prevent dental decay and gum disease progression.

Gingivitis Complications

Untreated gingivitis could develop into a more severe gum disease like periodontitis or lead up to other health complications. These issues may include the following: 

  • Tooth loss
  • Bone loss
  • Dental abscess
  • Nutrition problems
  • Systemic diseases due to untreated dental bacteria

Gingivitis Prevention

Maintaining a dental health routine can help prevent gum diseases. Some of Dr. Sunitsch's recommendations to achieve this are:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily using the proper technique. 
  • Brush your tongue. 
  • Floss twice a day.
  • Avoid sugary snacks.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Brush your mouth after drinking acidic beverages like alcohol and coffee.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for dental cleanings.
  • Manage your sugar intake.
  • Keep a healthy diet.

Gingivitis Treatment in Sisters, Oregon

Pine Desert Dental offers treatment for patients dealing with gingivitis and periodontitis. We have comprehensive preventative dentistry to avoid dental issues and periodontal dental care to treat gum disease symptoms. 

Dr. Zach Sunitsch and the Pine Desert Dental team can handle all your dental needs. He is an active member of the American Dental Association, the Oregon Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. 

For more information, call us at (541) 549-01-09 or request an appointment online. You can also visit us at our clinic in Sisters, Oregon.

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