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Gingivitis -What It Is and How You Can Avoid It


July 20, 2017

Gingivitis is a type of gum disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling of your gums. According to Mayo Clinic, healthy gums are firm, pale pink, and tight around your teeth. Swollen, puffy, tender, receding, or red gums; bleeding when you brush or floss; and bad breath are all signs of gingivitis.

Regular Dentist Visits are Key in Preventing Gingivitis.
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It’s caused by bacteria in your mouth that leave plaque on your teeth. This plaque gets under your gums and hardens, making a substance called tartar that is much more difficult to remove. More bacteria can grow where tartar is, so a dental checkup is needed to get rid of it. If the tartar stays long enough, your gums will become irritated, inflamed, swollen, and will bleed easily.

Gingivitis is no joke. If you have it, you need to get it treated. Untreated gingivitis can get worse, and spread to tissues and bones around your gums, leading to tooth loss. Very severe gingivitis can lead to a disease called trench mouth, which causes painful infections, bleeding gums, and ulcerations in your mouth.

Tobacco Use Can Lead to Gum Disease.
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Some factors increase your risk of getting gingivitis. Some of these factors are avoidable, but some are not. Some things that make it easier for people to get gingivitis are: bad habits in keeping your teeth clean, using tobacco products, old age, dry mouth, poor nutrition, existing dental problems, immune system and other medical conditions, certain kinds of drugs, hormone changes, and genetics.

Gingivitis is common, but despite the risk factors, there are ways to avoid it. The most common cause of gingivitis is not keeping your teeth clean. Good habits, like brushing your teeth twice a day to get rid of plaque on your teeth, flossing to remove plaque from between your teeth, and getting regular dental checkups, can help stop gingivitis in its tracks, and even reverse it!

During your dental appointment, your dentist will remove the tartar from your teeth and under your gums, giving you a fresh start in keeping your teeth clean! From there, it’s your responsibility to brush and floss your teeth every day until your next appointment.

According to Colgate’s Oral Care Center, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth properly if you’re going to fight gingivitis. Good brushing habits include: using a soft-bristle brush, brushing for at least two minutes, not missing any areas, throwing away old and worn toothbrushes, and using the toothpaste that is right for you.

Good flossing technique will help keep your mouth healthy and gingivitis-free, too. It’s best to floss once a day, just before bedtime. 18 inches of floss should be enough.  The floss should be tight between your fingers, and slid between and around each tooth. Gently floss using a push and pull, and then an up and down movement. Don’t forget to floss under your gumline, and use a clean part of the floss for each tooth.

Gingivitis is common, but easy to avoid. Now that you know the proper techniques to avoid it, you can be gingivitis-free!

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