What Is Gingivitis And How Can We Prevent It?


If your gums are swollen or tender and if you notice either pink or red on your toothbrush or if you are bothered by bad breath or have mouth sores you may have a mild form of gum disease known as gingivitis.  Gingivitis is very common.  Its initial symptoms are so mild you may not even notice them.

Gingivitis is caused by poor oral hygiene allowing a buildup of plaque.  Plaque is a sticky substance of  bacteria and forms when the bacteria interacts with sugars and starches left in the mouth.  The more plaque builds up the harder it is to remove.  You will need the services of a professional in the dentist’s office to remove the plaque.  A buildup of plaque can cause your gums to recede and will contribute to tooth decay.  A professional cleaning will go a long way toward resolving the gingivitis problem and then it is up to you to continue to work to maintain a healthy mouth.

Some factors which may contribute to gingivitis are smoking, poor nutrition, substance abuse, poor fitting dentures and, of course, poor oral health habits.  As you get older or if you are diabetic you may be more prone to gingivitis.  Some medications such as heart medicine, birth control pills and antidepressants may increase your risk of gum disease.  A family history of gum disease puts you at higher risk for developing the problem yourself.


To help prevent gingivitis it is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day.  Brushing helps clean away the bacteria on your teeth so it cannot get down under your gums.  You want to spend a few minutes to thoroughly brush your teeth instead of just rushing through the process.  Replace your toothbrush every three or four months.  An electric toothbrush may do a better job of removing the plaque.  Be sure you floss daily before brushing your teeth to loosen food particles.

Gingivitis is a very mild gum disease, but if it is left untreated and allowed to progress you may develop much  more serious gum disease know as periodontitis.

Your entire body can be harmed by poor oral health.  It is thought that serious gum disease may contribute to lung disease, stroke or heart attacks.  You may have trouble controlling your sugar level.

It is very important to schedule  regular dental checkups to discover and treat any oral health problems early before they develop into a serious disease.