While gingivitis can be an inconvenience, the good news is that it is the only form of gum disease that can actually be reversed. This means that if you act early, and correctly, you can completely counteract the symptoms of gingivitis and prevent them from occurring again. So, what should you do exactly if you’re showing signs of early gingivitis?
Know the Symptoms
Before you can treat gingivitis, you have to know if you actually have gingivitis in the first place. One of the first signs of gingivitis is inflammation. Red swollen gums are usually a first sign that you may have gingivitis. If your gums become tender or start to bleed easily whenever you floss, then this could be another clear sign that you have gingivitis.
Another sign that you may indeed be suffering with gingivitis is bad breath. Bad breath is usually a sign of strong bacterial activity. Bacteria will feast on the particles that form in your mouth and around your teeth, which will release a foul odor. If you see a noticeable change in your breath, this could also be a sign of a more serious gum disease since gingivitis itself will not always be accompanied with bad breath.
If you notice that your gums seem to be shrinking or that your teeth look longer, then it could be a sign that your gums are receding. That is another common symptom of gingivitis. Receding gums can also cause your teeth to become more sensitive, so if your teeth seem more sensitive out of the blue, then this could be another sign that you have gingivitis.
Understand what Causes Gingivitis
To treat and prevent gingivitis, you also have to know what causes it in the first place. When it comes to gingivitis, plaque is the main culprit. When your teeth are neglected, plaque, a natural film produced by your body, starts accumulating over your teeth. Over time, this plaque will turn into tartar, which will start to build up above and below your gum line. This tartar becomes a fertile ground for bacteria of all sorts and can lead to not only gingivitis, but a whole host of other forms of periodontal disease (Source: Sunshine Dental in NE Calgary).
This is why making sure that you never have plaque building up in the first place is essential. This starts with regular brushing. If you think you’re at risk, you should consider brushing your teeth after every meal if possible. If your gums are inflamed, try to go for soft bristles to prevent irritation.
You could also consider buying an electric toothbrush if needed. They will give you a more thorough cleaning and you’ll be able to control the speed to prevent irritation. Make sure that you concentrate on the areas around the gums since this is where a lot of bacteria tends to build up. You should also buy some antibacterial mouthwash and toothpaste to make it even more effective.
Proper flossing is also essential if you want to remove pieces of plaque and food in between your teeth. These areas are very prone to bacteria, so make sure that they get special attention. Use an 18-inch piece of floss and wrap it around each of your middle fingers. When flossing in between your teeth, make sure to slightly push down and form a C-shape at the base of your gums; this will allow the floss to reach the area between your gums and your tooth.
Consider a Professional Cleaning
If you have a significant tartar build up, then your dentist will probably recommend that you get a deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing as it is commonly referred to. This will allow them to eliminate any traces of plaque and tartar you weren’t able to get rid of on your own through brushing and flossing. If you have already started to show signs and symptoms of gingivitis, getting your teeth deep cleaned will stop the symptoms and reverse them.
During the process, your dentist might use scaling, which allows them to scrape tartar around your teeth and the small pocket area that is located between your teeth and your gums. Root planing is when your dentist will smooth out your roots to facilitate healing once tartar and plaque has been completely removed. Preventative cleanings once every six months should be enough to keep the symptoms away, but your dentist will eventually be the one that will give you the best schedule depending on your needs.
Gingivitis can be stopped in its tracks once you know the proper procedures and stay in contact with your dentist. Make sure that you act as soon as possible and re-assess your dental hygiene practices to prevent it from being a recurring issue.