Gingivitis is a prevalent and mild form of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling of your gums. In some cases of gingivitis, patients may not even know they have it because symptoms are mild. However, it’s important to take gingivitis seriously and treat it promptly. Gingivitis can lead to much more serious gum disease (periodontitis) and eventual tooth loss.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Healthy gums are firm and pale pink. Because gingivitis is rarely painful, you can have gingivitis without even knowing it. Signs and symptoms of gingivitis may include:

·        Swollen gums

·        Soft, puffy gums

·        Receding gums

·        Occasionally, tender gums

·        Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss

·        A change in the colour of your gums from a healthy pink to dusky red

·        Bad breath

Causes of Gingivitis

The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form. Plaque is an invisible, sticky film made up of bacteria. Plaque forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with bacteria usually found in your mouth. Brushing and flossing your teeth each day removes plaque.

Risk Factors

Factors that can increase your risk of gingivitis include:

·        Poor oral health habits

·        Tobacco use

·        Diabetes

·        Older age

·        Decreased immunity due to leukemia, HIV/AIDS or other conditions

·        Dry mouth

·        Certain medications

·        Certain viral and fungal infections

·        Hormonal changes, such as those related to pregnancy, your menstrual cycle or use of oral contraceptives

·        Ill-fitting dental restorations

·        Substance abuse

Diagnosis

Dentists usually diagnose gingivitis based on symptoms such as plaque and tartar in the oral cavity and an examination of your teeth, gums, mouth and tongue.

Treatment

Prompt treatment can usually reverse symptoms of gingivitis and prevent its progression to more severe gum disease and tooth loss. Effective treatment requires regular professional checkups and cleanings, followed by stepped-up oral hygiene at home. Contact us to schedule your visit today.

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