You hear it every time you go to the dentist: “make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly.” Some people take this to heart and have incorporated it as their daily routine, while others may promise to do so only to give up on it a few days later. Not flossing may not seem like a big deal, but the reality is lack of proper oral hygiene can lead not only to bad breath and bleeding gums, but to gum disease and the loss of your teeth.
Sensitive, puffy, and bleeding gums are the early warning signs of gum disease. This stage is known as gingivitis.
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the inflammation of your gums and can occur due to a buildup of plaque or bacteria on your teeth.
Signs of gingivitis:
- Tender gums that may be painful to the touch
- Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
- Gums that are redder in color than usual
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Receding gums
Poor oral hygiene is one of the main and most common causes of gingivitis. The buildup of bacteria around the gums due to poor brushing or flossing can lead to plaque if not properly taken care of. This is why regular visits to the dentist for cleaning are so important. They are able to remove the plaque around your teeth and look for the warning signs of gingivitis.
Other causes for gingivitis can be:
- Diseases such as diabetes or cancer
- Poor diet
What happens if your gingivitis worsens?
If action is not taken, gingivitis will eventually worsen and turn into a gum disease, such as periodontitis. Periodontitis is an infection that destroys the soft tissue of your gums and can destroy the bones that support your teeth, which could even lead to tooth loss.
How can you prevent gingivitis?
Don’t fear – gingivitis and periodontitis can be prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, and scheduling preventative visits to your dentist. Plus, brushing and flossing regularly helps keep your breath fresh.
We recommend contacting your dental professional if you have any additional questions regarding gingivitis, stained teeth, or other concerns. If you would like to set up a consultation with Dr. Festa please visit our appointments page or contact the office at 919-847-3899!