The First Signs of Gingivitis

Patients who brush and floss daily and visit their family dentist every six months seldom experience problems with gum disease.

However, failure to follow the recommendations of brushing twice daily with a fluoridated tooth paste, flossing at least once every day, and having teeth professionally cleaned twice per year can result in the onset of gingivitis.

The early signs include:

Bleeding gum tissue – patients that vigorously brush with a hard bristle tooth brush and really scrub their teeth to reduce plaque formation can be doing more harm than good. In addition to making their gums bleed, this action over time can result in worn dental enamel and premature gum recession. Gum tissue should not bleed without this type of provocation; if they do, you may be seeing signs of gingivitis.

Red, swollen gums – healthy gum tissue is pink and firm.

Chronic bad breath – experiencing halitosis after eating strong foods like garlic or onions; or drinking beverages like coffee or alcohol is not unusual. You can suck on a breath mint for a short term solution. But with gum disease, bad breath emanates due to bacteria and you won’t eliminate it until you get a handle on your oral health.

If allowed to progress, gingivitis can escalate to the more serious periodontitis. Teeth might start to pull away from gums feeling loose. Without dental intervention, you could lose those teeth. And additional consequences include jaw bone loss where teeth are missing. This could impact your appearance resulting in a shriveling effect.

All of these negative experiences could be prevented. Patients that react to the early signs of gingivitis can have the plaque removed that is contributing to their gum problems, and with continuous care never have to worry about a reoccurrence.

The treatment for this early stage of gum disease involves a deep cleaning where the dentist removes the plaque that has formed beneath the gum line. If infection is present, the area is flushed and an antibiotic is often prescribed.

Once treatment is completed, the patient is encouraged to floss at least once daily, brush twice daily, and in many cases is advised to use an antibacterial rinse.

Of course, consistent visits to the family dentist coupled with the recommended daily oral care regimen could mean you will never experience gingivitis or gum disease.

If it’s time to schedule your next visit, contact Family Smiles Dental Group at 972-539-0608.