You already know the importance of brushing your teeth, but gums need attention as well. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, but it’s easily preventable (and reversible) if you take the right measures. Learn the telltale signs and the things you can do to keep your gums healthy.
What is gingivitis exactly?
In its simplest form, gingivitis is an inflammation of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. If not addressed at an early stage, gingivitis may progress to periodontitis—a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
Gingivitis can sometimes be painless, and therefore can go unnoticed. To stop it before it appears, visit your dentist regularly and brush twice a day to control plaque and gingivitis.
What are the early warning signs?
When gingivitis first develops, it’s usually no more than a little redness—usually painless. As a result, it’s especially important to look out for early signs of trouble
- Check your toothbrush. If you see pink on the bristles, your gums may be bleeding from the slight pressure of tooth brushing, and that can indicate inflammation.
- Check your gum color. Gums in the early stages of gingivitis may look dull and red rather than bright and pink.
- Check your gum texture. Gums in the early stages of gingivitis may appear soft and swollen. Healthy gums should be fairly firm and they should not be pulling away from the teeth.
Can Gingivitis Be More Prevalent Among Pregnant Women?
Gingivitis is a widespread problem among adults, but its especially prevalent in pregnant women. While pregnant, about half of all women experience pregnancy gingivitis, caused by increased hormone levels that exaggerate the body’s response to plaque. The symptoms of gingivitis include gums that bleed, are swollen or red.
Changes in gums begin to be noticeable in the second month of pregnancy, reaching a maximum in the eighth month. To help keep gingivitis at bay, brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss every day and see a dental professional.
Is There A Link Between Gum Disease And Heart Disease?
Recent studies suggest a possible link between periodontitis and heart dieasei.
One hypothesis for this correlation is that bacteria in infected gums is not contained to the mouth, but can travel to other parts of the body, as well. Once these bacteria reach the arteries, they can cause arterial plaque to buildup. And when these plaque-filled arteries harden, problems arise.
If you stay on top of your oral care by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing every day, you can help minimize your risk of gum disease.
Follow these simple steps:
- Brush your teeth twice daily with a proven anti-gingivitis toothpaste.
- Floss at least daily, or more often if you eat sticky foods or foods that can lodge between your teeth (such as popcorn or poppy seeds)
- Have dental checkups twice a year (or as often as your dental professional recommends)
- Use an anti-microbial rinse indicated for plaque and gingivitis in addition to brushing and flossing.