Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue around the teeth. Since gingivitis is usually painless and has very mild symptoms, many people who have it are unaware of their condition. Is gingivitis curable and preventable? Absolutely! Gingivitis can be prevented, and existing gingivitis can be reversed, with good oral hygiene and a bit of help from your dentist and dental hygienist.
When plaque builds up on your teeth and isn't removed by careful brushing and flossing, it can turn into an even harder substance called tartar. Tartar builds up at the base of your teeth, irritating your gums. This also creates an area where more plaque builds up on top of the tartar and continues to cause more irritation to the gum tissue.
While most cases of gingivitis are caused by poor dental care, other factors can also contribute to gum disease. Gingivitis is more prevalent in pregnant women, for example, as well as those going through puberty or menopause, since hormonal changes effect the germs in your mouth. Smoking, diabetes and vitamin deficiencies can also increase your risk of gingivitis.
The first indication that you might have gingivitis is a small amount of blood on your toothbrush or in the sink when you brush your teeth. You might also notice that your gums are redder and less firm than they should be. Your dentist and dental hygienist can diagnose gingivitis just by looking at your gums, so if you are concerned that you may have gingivitis, make an appointment as soon as possible.
Gingivitis can be reversed by eliminating the tartar causing the irritation in your gums. Your dental professional can remove the existing tartar irritating your gums by cleaning and scaling your teeth. After a professional cleaning, keep your teeth and gums free from tartar by brushing twice daily with a tartar-control toothpaste and flossing at least once a day. Using an antimicrobial mouthwash after brushing can also help prevent tartar build-up on your teeth. By brushing and flossing well, you can have regular, healthy gums again.