Gingivitis is an inflammatory condition. One of the earliest types of periodontal disease, gingivitis is generally seen as the gums become inflamed.
Here is some information about gingivitis and how to prevent it.
What Causes Gingivitis?
As you consume food and drinks, the bacteria in your oral cavity feed on simple carbohydrates that are left in your mouth. Bacteria also mix with particles of food to form dental plaque, a sticky substance that can accumulate on the teeth and around the gums.
As the bacteria in the plaque consume their food, they release acidic waste. The bacterial acid causes gingivitis by irritating the gingival tissues. This irritation leads to gums that bleed, swell, and redden.
Are Some People More Susceptible to Developing Gingivitis?
Although anyone can suffer from gingivitis, some people are at greater risk of developing the condition. Here are a few habits or conditions that may make you more prone to developing gum disease:
- Poor oral hygiene. People who don't brush and floss regularly often develop gingivitis.
- Smoking. Smoking or chewing tobacco can inflame the gums, making them more susceptible to gingivitis. Additionally, smoking can impair the ability of gingival tissues to heal.
- Hormonal fluctuations. People may also develop gum disease due to hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during pregnancy.
- Aging. As a person grows older, they are more likely to develop gingivitis.
- Autoimmune diseases. Conditions that weaken the body's immune system, such as HIV, can increase the likelihood of gingivitis.
- Side effects from medications. Some medications can make gingival inflammation more likely.
How Do You Treat Gingivitis?
There are several measures that you can take to treat gingivitis. They include:
- Brush with antimicrobial toothpaste. Some toothpaste includes antibacterial ingredients, such as chlorhexidine, to reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth and subsequently lessen the amount of bacterial acid.
- Use an antimicrobial mouth rinse. Like antimicrobial toothpaste, antimicrobial mouthwash kills harmful bacteria. Due to its liquid state, the mouthwash can reach bacteria in cracks and crevices that toothbrush bristles are unable to access.
- Brush with an electric toothbrush. Electric brushes have moving bristles that clean the teeth more effectively than manual toothbrushes. During your brushing sessions be sure to concentrate on the gum line, which tends to have heavy accumulations of plaque.
- Get regular dental cleanings. When your dentist cleans your teeth, they remove large amounts of bacteria-filled plaque and tartar that can incite gum disease.
To learn more about gingivitis and its prevention, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.