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What are the Most Common Warning Signs of Gingivitis?

Young female dentist showing her female patient that have a gingivitis how to use interdental brush correctly.

Many times, people overlook the early signs and symptoms of gum disease, which is known as gingivitis. The most common signs are bleeding gums and persistent bad breath. If these symptoms are left untreated, it can lead to other health risks.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums and is a mild form of gum disease (periodontal disease).

How do you get gingivitis?

Gingivitis usually forms because of bacterial growth in your mouth as a result of inadequate brushing and flossing, which allows plaque – an invisible, sticky, bacteria-filled film – to form on your teeth. If it stays on your teeth longer than a day or so, plaque can harden into a material called tartar, which hardens under your gum line. Tartar causes irritation along your gums, and the longer it remains, the more it can irritate your gums.

In addition, an increased risk of gingivitis has been linked to the following:

  • Hormonal changes: These include those associated with puberty, menopause, menstruation, and pregnancy
  • Certain diseases: These include diabetes and cancer.
  • Certain medications: These include ones that cause a reduced saliva flow.
  • Genetics: If you have one or more parents who has gingivitis, your risk for having it as well is increased.
  • Smoking: Regular smokers are more at risk to develop gingivitis when compared to non-smokers.
  • Age: The risk of gingivitis increases with age.

What are the warning signs of gingivitis?

The following signs can indicate the presence of gingivitis:

  • Red, puffy, swollen gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are sensitive to the touch
  • Teeth that look longer (because your gums may be receding)
  • A pocket or area between the tooth and gum
  • Thick yellow fluid in the pocket between the tooth and gum
  • Chronic bad breath

Can gingivitis be treated or reversed?

Gingivitis can be reversed if it’s treated early enough, allowing you to avoid serious symptoms such as tooth loss. Treatment can include the following:

  • Scaling and planing: Your dentist can remove the tartar and bacteria from your teeth and beneath your gums in a procedure called scaling. Planing removes bacteria products that are caused by inflammation, smooths the roots, and allows for healing.
  • Dental restoration: If necessary, dental problems such as crooked misaligned teeth or poorly fitting crowns can be fixed so they don’t irritate your gums and interfere with effective at-home dental care.
  • Ongoing at-home and professional care: You’ll need to follow a good at-home oral care regimen of brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Your dentist will also suggest a schedule for professional teeth cleanings.

What happens if your gingivitis gets worse?

Gingivitis that progresses can lead to a more serious condition called periodontitis. This can cause the following:

  • Loss of bone that supports the teeth
  • Loose teeth or teeth loss
  • Infection in the jaw bone
  • Recurrent gingivitis
  • Trench mouth (ulcerated gums)
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

If you have symptoms of gingivitis, call Dental365 at 844-365-DENTAL today for an appointment or simply stop by one of our many convenient NY locations. We’re open seven days a week with extended weekdays hours and provide services ranging from routine cleanings to oral surgery.


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