Gingivitis is a word that refers to inflammation of the gums, and defines the early stages of gum disease. While not full-blown periodontal (gum) disease, gingivitis will eventually lead to gum disease if not treated, and should be taken seriously.
It’s generally easier to treat and reverse gum disease at this early stage rather than when it advances. Can gingivitis really be reversed? Here’s what you need to know.
Yes, With the Right Treatment
Good news—gingivitis can usually be reversed with the right treatment . Your treatment will usually include a professional teeth cleaning, which helps remove plaque and its hardened form, tartar, from your smile in an effort to eliminate the irritants that are contributing to gum disease.
Your dentist will also advise you on the best home care habits to keep gingivitis away. Of course, these will include brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once every day. Your dentist may also recommend a follow-up cleaning sooner than normal to ensure the gingivitis isn’t starting to return.
People with gingivitis that’s a bit more advanced may need a deeper cleaning, called a root planing and scaling. This process is generally not uncomfortable but will include a thorough cleaning to remove any existing infection and smooth your gums to prevent bacteria from getting back underneath the gumline.
What Causes Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is caused by plaque, which is an accumulation of food debris and bacteria that sticks to your teeth . When not removed regularly, plaque begins to bother the gumline and can lead to an infection, bad breath, and eventually, gum disease.
Some people are also genetically predisposed to develop gingivitis; for example, if their parents have a history of the disease. Others may notice signs of gingivitis during pregnancy, when hormones in the body can lead to inflamed gum tissue.
Signs You Could Have the Beginning Stages of Gum Disease
For some people, gingivitis won’t cause symptoms until it’s progressed. However, you may notice symptoms such as :
Swollen or puffy gum tissue
Gums that bleed when brushing
Chronic bad breath
Gingivitis is usually preventable with the proper brushing and flossing habits in addition to checkups with your dentist. However, if you notice one or more of these signs of gum disease, it’s essential to follow up with your oral healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Are you seeing signs of gingivitis? Don’t ignore it thinking it’ll go away on its own. It’s impossible to reverse the condition without professional treatment. Your dentist will ensure that your treatment is comfortable and thorough so that gingivitis doesn’t return!