As a family dentist, we often get people asking us how to treat gingivitis? Questions like is it curable? and, can it be prevented? are also commonplace. So with this in mind, we felt it was a good idea to give you all the information you need to know need to know about gingivitis right here in this post. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look.
First of all…what exactly is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is simply an inflammation of the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth and affects pretty much all of us at one stage or another throughout our lives. Normally the problem is painless and comes with very mild symptoms. However, if left to its own devices, it can morph into full-blown gum disease which can cause many problems for your teeth and gums and be both difficult and expensive to treat. However the main problem with Gingivitis is that because symptoms are mild, many people aren’t even aware that they have it. Or worse still, ignore it completely, thinking it will pass.
So, what causes the problem?
The cause of gingivitis is a build-up of plaque in and around the teeth and gums. When this isn’t removed by careful brushing and flossing it turns into tartar. This is an ultra hard substance which can’t then be removed by brushing alone. As the tartar builds up it attacks the base of the teeth (near the gum line) and creates pockets where more plaque can accumulate. When this happens, it causes further gum irritation – and so on and so forth.
While gingivitis is primarily caused by poor oral care, factors such as smoking, vitamin deficiencies and diabetes can also increase the risk of gingivitis. Interestingly, it’s been discovered that gingivitis is also prevalent in pregnant women, menopausal women, or in those going through puberty, and even slight hormonal changes can affect the balance of good and bad bacteria in the mouth.
Are there any common signs that you have gingivitis?
One of the most common signs of gingivitis is signs of blood when you clean your teeth. In addition, reddened gums that are tender to the touch might also be a good indicator. If you feel that you might have the onset of gingivitis then schedule an appointment with your dentist!
How to Get Rid of Gingivitis?
Eradicating gingivitis is a relatively straightforward procedure that first involves a trip to the dentist or hygienist. The key here in knowing how to treat gingivitis is to first remove the tartar. Remember we mentioned that tartar is an ultra hard substance which can’t be removed by brushing? Well, the good news is that your dentist/hygienist uses specialised scaling and cleaning tools that can shift it. Generally, this is a pain-free process performed relatively quickly without the need for anaesthetic. However, if your gums or teeth are particularly tender, then you may require a small injection.
So you’ve had professional cleaning – What next?
After the professional cleaning, brushing with a tartar-control toothpaste, daily flossing, and the use of an antibacterial mouthwash should reverse the process. In terms of timescale, patients can expect to notice a difference within a few days. However, it can take a while (somewhere between 10-14 days) for the symptoms to disappear completely. If your gingivitis is more prevalent, then it may take longer to clear up altogether. Keep in mind that there might be severe cases of gingivitis that even when your dentist stops its development, your gums might not be completely recovered.
Finally, is gingivitis preventable?
Absolutely! If you practice good brushing and flossing and combine this with regular trips to your dentist, then it is possible to prevent gingivitis from ever occurring in the first place. In addition, although more research is needed, early studies show that foods containing anthocyanins help to prevent the attachment of plaque on the teeth. These include aubergines, plums, prunes, blackberries, cranberries, and cherries. While, Arginine – an important amino acid that disrupts the formation of plaque – can be found in high protein foods such as turkey breast, chicken, soybeans, and peanuts.
So there you have it, everything you need to know about how to treat gingivitis and more besides! If you notice bleeding when you brush or floss, or feel it’s about time you had a dental check-up, then come and visit Southern Smiles in Miranda. We’re your gentle family dentist who can help you get the very best out of your smile. To book an appointment, contact us on (02) 8503 9902 today.