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You Have Gingivitis. Now What?

Lady dentist looking at x-ray of teeth

Let’s say your dentist has diagnosed you with gingivitis. Uh-oh! What do you do now? Well, the good news is that this condition is treatable and reversible, so there are some steps that you can take to get your gum health back on track and prevent further damage.

What Causes Gingivitis in the First Place?

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease , so it sounds scary, no doubt about it. Luckily, though, this is the mild and early stage of gum disease. Remember, it is reversible, so all hope is not lost! However, it is imperative that you tackle this problem now before it progresses and starts to put your teeth at risk.

When it comes to what causes gingivitis, it all boils down to one thing: plaque. It’s that simple. The nasty, sticky film that ends up on your teeth after eating and drinking will harbor nasty bacteria, as well as create toxins.

As plaque sits on your teeth and along your gum line, your poor gums will become irritated, red, tender, and swollen, especially as it hardens into tartar. Before long, your gums will even bleed surprisingly easily, such as when you brush and floss.

You probably already guessed that attacking plaque and getting rid of it is the key to eliminating, as well as preventing, gingivitis, but catching it in its earliest stages is the best way to make the process easier. That’s why seeing your dentist regularly can come in extremely handy.

Other Factors That Might Contribute to Gingivitis

Here are a few of the risk factors that might put you at a greater risk of developing gum ailments:

  • Dry mouth
  • Smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Certain medications
  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes
  • Certain medical conditions, such as those that impact your immune system, as well as fungal infections and viral infections
  • Poorly fitting dental restorations
  • Misaligned teeth

Your Dentist Will Get You on the Road to Healthy Gums

Having gingivitis is a bummer. Thankfully, it can be treated relatively easily. Your dentist might start by recommending a professional cleaning.

A dental hygienist can work on removing all of the plaque that has accumulated on your teeth, and that you wouldn’t be able to get rid of on your own. And the hygienist can also use scaling to remove tartar from the teeth and gums, as well as root planing to further help with healing the gums.

Pro tip: Get yourself one of the affordable Spirit Dental plans available, as they cover not one, not two, but three professional cleanings per year. Score!

You Can Do Things at Home Too!

If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis, your dentist might tell you that you need to step up your oral hygiene routine at home.

Here are some of the things that your dentist will likely recommend that you do, broken down into a simple three-step process:

  1. Improve your brushing routine by brushing twice a day, for a total of two minutes each time. Brush your teeth thoroughly, but also make sure you get that gum line nice and clean too. Don’t be too rough, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush so that you avoid irritating the gums. You might even consider using an electric toothbrush that comes with a built-in timer and a brush head that is designed to help clean along the gum line.
  2. Flossing between your teeth, all the way to the gum line is another smart way to alleviate gingivitis. Because you’ll be able to effectively remove all of those food particles that feed plaque, flossing is definitely an important step
  3. Finally, you can also try an antibacterial mouthwash that will attack bacteria. Swishing it around your mouth for a bit can help you target areas of your mouth that are hard to reach with a brush and floss.

Be consistent in your efforts. Although a professional cleaning is the foundation that gets you started on the road towards clean, strong gums, the rest is up to you. By following a strict oral hygiene routine at home after a cleaning, your gums should be able to heal, often after just a few days or weeks.

A Quick Final Note: Even What You Eat Might Have an Impact!

Watching what you eat might help you keep your chompers and gums healthy. For example, incorporating more fruits and veggies, while eliminating high-sugar foods and beverages from your diet, are a couple of ways that you can do good things every day for your mouth. A balanced diet will provide your body with important nutrients, like calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C, which support teeth and gums.

Keep an Eye on Your Oral Health by Seeing Your Dentist

The simple act of seeing your dentist regularly throughout the year is a wise way to prevent, as well as treat, gingivitis. Your dentist will be able to carefully examine your mouth and look for the earliest hints that gum issues are developing. Then, he or she will be able to give you advice on what you should do next, whether you need to change the way you do things at home, or you need a good professional cleaning to set you on the right track first. On the other hand, if you avoid seeing your dentist and getting your cleanings when you should, you run the risk of developing gingivitis and not realizing until it’s already quite advanced.

Gingivitis is something that you should take seriously, as it could lead to serious dental problems in the long run. But if you’re diligent about your oral care routine and you catch it in time, there are methods that you can use to help your gums heal, so it isn’t all bad news after all.

 

Sources:

https://crest.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gums/gingivitis-home-treatment

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gum-disease/what-to-do-if-you-spot-gingivitis-symptoms-0714

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gum-disease/how-to-fight-gingivitis-in-three-easy-steps-0914

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gingivitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354453

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gingivitis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354459

https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gums/gingivitis-symptoms-causes-treatments

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/scaling-and-root-planing

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