If someone were to ask you what the most common disease in America is, what might you say? Would heart disease come to mind? Maybe a certain form of cancer? Would you believe them if they told you that gum disease was among the most common diseases facing Americans? This highly avoidable disease starts out as an inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis, and in its earliest stages it is highly treatable. When gingivitis progresses to gum disease, larger issues arise that require greater medical intervention. To learn more about this common oral ailment, read on and have a few of your questions answered!
What is gingivitis?
When plaque and bacteria build up in the mouth and along the gum lines, the sensitive tissues in your mouth can become inflamed. This condition is known as gingivitis and it is characterized by red, sensitive gums that easily bleed and may be itchy or otherwise uncomfortable. Although this is not always the case, sometimes the first sign of gingivitis is a bit of pink in the sink after brushing or flossing.
How do people get gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an entirely avoidable condition that is usually due to poor dental hygiene. Skipping brushings, not flossing, and engaging in other poor oral habits can all heighten your risk of developing gingivitis. Certain medications can negatively impact your oral health, as well as smoking. The best way to avoid gingivitis is to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, floss daily, and utilize a mouthwash to help kill additional bacteria. A healthy lifestyle full of fruits and vegetables and low on alcohol and tobacco products are also known ways to keep your mouth healthy.
How is gingivitis treated?
If gingivitis is caught before it progresses to gum disease, it can be treated by a thorough dental cleaning and diligent attention to your brushing routine. Your dentist will have you in to clean the area around your gums and slightly under where your teeth meet your gums to help clear away built up plaque and bacteria. He or she may want to have you visit more than once to help ensure any harmful matter is gone.
What if gingivitis goes untreated?
Left to its own devices, gingivitis will progress to gum disease and ultimately may result in the loss of permanent teeth. In fact, gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in America. Once gum disease has developed, it is significantly harder to treat than gingivitis and will even result in surgery in extreme cases.
Being proactive about your oral health is the best way to avoid ever developing gingivitis, but everyone slips up from time to time! If you’re worried about the state of your gums, it’s never too early to contact your dentist to have your oral health evaluated.
Continue keeping up your practice of brushing and flossing, but give us a call at Sunrise Dental Care in Geneva to have your gum health assessed today!