What Is Gingivitis? Everything You Need to Know to Prevent This Gum Disease

Around 47.2 per cent of American adults above the age of thirty, have some form of periodontal or gum disease in the United States of America.

Gingivitis is one of the most common of these gum diseases. However, with a bit of care, you can prevent this condition or at the very least, reduce your risk of developing it.

This article answers all your questions about this disease, including what is gingivitis and how do you prevent gingivitis, by taking an in-depth look at the causes, risk factors and symptoms of gingivitis.

Let’s start off by addressing the most basic question first!

What Is Gingivitis?

In a nutshell, gingivitis refers to the inflammation of the gums that usually occurs at the base of your teeth. It is one of the milder gum diseases, but if left untreated it can lead to more severe diseases like periodontitis, or cause you to lose your teeth.

Symptoms of Gingivitis

If your gums are healthy, they should be a pale pink color, and rest firmly around your teeth. However, if they are unhealthy, or symptomatic of gingivitis, you are likely to observe the following signs:

  • Red or purple gums
  • Tender or sensitive gums
  • Swelling or puffiness in your gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Pus
  • Pain while eating or chewing your food
  • Soft or “loose” gums
  • Receding of the gums

If you notice one or more of these signs, you should seek medical help from a dentist immediately. Failure to address this will only cause your symptoms to exacerbate, which will ultimately lead to complications.

Causes of Gingivitis

While your family’s medical history and genetics can contribute to your risk of developing gingivitis, there are other factors that could also come into play. Here are a few of the most common causes or risk factors of gingivitis:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Cancer, diabetes, or HIV
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Frequent smoking
  • Aging
  • Poor dietary choices
  • Low levels of vitamin C
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Plaque on your teeth

Now that you’re aware of what the causes are, you’ll be better equipped for preventing this disease.

How to Prevent or Reduce Your Risk for Gingivitis

There is no one single thing that will prevent the development of gingivitis. Rather, you must focus on making healthier choices every day. Here are a few things you should consider incorporating into your current lifestyle.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

This one’s a no-brainer, but there are plenty of people who neglect oral hygiene or dismiss it as not important enough. Good oral hygiene involves:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day
  • Replacing your toothbrush regularly
  • Flossing once a day
  • Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash after meals

It might help to know that most older people report feeling regretful about not taking better care of their teeth during their younger days.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Visiting your dentist every six to twelve months will ensure that you address early symptoms, and keep your teeth clean. Additionally, plenty of dentists offer preventative gum therapy that focuses on addressing the causes of gingivitis.

Healthy Eating Habits

What you put in your mouth ultimately decides the health of your teeth and gums. It’s time to cut down on processed sugars, sugary snacks, fizzy drinks, and salty treats. Of course, you do not have to eliminate them completely from your diet, however, you do have to look at minimizing how much of these foods you consume.

These foods are, unfortunately, a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that compromise the health of your teeth and gums. It helps to follow up your meals and snacks with a quick rinse of your mouth. This will help get rid of the food debris in your teeth and help you maintain better oral hygiene.

Another thing to focus on, with regard to your diet, is the amount of vitamin C you consume. A vitamin C deficiency can aggravate or trigger symptoms of gingivitis. Look at eating foods rich in this vitamin, like oranges, pineapples, red bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is not only detrimental to your lungs, and overall health, but also to your teeth and gums. If you’re someone who finds it difficult to give up smoking, do make sure you seek professional help to address this habit.

Find Ways to Effectively Manage Stress

Stress is also considered a risk factor for developing gingivitis. That is why it is important that you find healthy coping mechanisms to help you manage your daily stresses effectively.

Some options to consider include, exercising, eating well-balanced meals, effective time-management, talk therapy, meditation, yoga, mindfulness exercises, listening to music, taking a warm shower, and spending time with children or animals.

If stress is something that you struggle to keep under control, do consider talking to a psychiatrist or therapist to get the help you need to manage it effectively.

Prioritizing Your Oral Health Will Serve You Well

Throughout this article, we’ve addressed the various causes and symptoms of gum disease, and of course, we’ve answered the question of what is gingivitis.

By maintaining good oral hygiene, eating a healthy diet, getting enough vitamin C, and managing stress effectively, you can protect your teeth and gums from all kinds of diseases. However, you must pair this healthy lifestyle with regular visits to the dentist to ensure that you’re truly on track.

At Westport Dental, we go the extra mile to ensure that our patients get the dental care they deserve to lead happy and healthy lives. Set up an appointment with our dental experts today, and get on the path to good oral health!

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