Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease, and is often the result of minimal or absent daily hygiene care and missed visits with the dentist for a complete cleaning and dental exam. Some of the indicators you should watch for include:
Bleeding gums – Gums may bleed if your brush vigorously or use a hard bristle tooth brush. The answer is to lighten up – scrubbing teeth too hard may be doing more harm than good. A soft bristle tooth brush is recommended … an electronic tooth brush is a solution as no pressure is needed. All you have to do is guide the brush, and let it do the work.
If gums are bleeding without provocation, you may be dealing with gum disease. Healthy gums do not bleed.
Gum appearance – Healthy gum tissue is pink … gums that are red and swollen may be infected.
Chronic bad breath – Strong foods and beverages can give you bad breath, but if halitosis is on-going you are probably dealing with some type of infection. Sinus and throat illness can produce a sour odor, but if you believe your teeth are the source of your bad breath, a visit to the dentist is needed.
If gum tissue has started to recede or teeth feel loose, you are no longer in the gingivitis stage of gum disease. You are now dealing with the more advanced condition, periodontitis. The bacteria that has been left on your teeth from a lack of brushing, flossing, and dental visits has now grown below the gum tissue and is destroying the bone structure that is holding your teeth in place.
Gum disease can impact one tooth or one area … the entire mouth does not have to be involved to require treatment. And even the most diligent can be faced with gingivitis. This is why early childhood care is so important. Many adults dealing with gum disease can point to a lack of or improper care growing up; this is more evident if parents and siblings also deal with gum disease.
You can break that cycle. Daily flossing is possibly the most important contributor to maintaining healthy gum tissue. Brushing with a fluoridated tooth paste at least twice each day coupled with consistent visits to the dentist for a thorough cleaning and dental exam will result in healthy teeth and gums.
Contact our team at Balcones Family Dental today to schedule your next professional exam.