Gingivitis can be defined as a common and mild form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. This condition causes irritation, redness and swelling inflammation in the gums. Since gingivitis is just a mild condition, one may not be feel the symptoms enough to be aware that you may have it. It is important to treat gingivitis promptly as it lead to other much more serious gum diseases and also in very serious cases, tooth loss.
As mentioned earlier, in many cases, there might not be symptoms obvious enough to make one aware that he/she has gingivitis. However, the common signs and symptoms of gingivitis include
- Swollen gums
- Receding gums
- Soft and puffy gums
- Bad breath
- Tender gums on occasion
- Bleeding gums, especially when you brush
- Change in the colour of the gums from pink to red
If one has any/some/all of the above symptoms, it is important to seek prompt medical attention.
Gingivitis Risk Factors
A person with the following conditions may have a higher risk of developing gingivitis
- Has poor oral health habits
- Use tobacco
- Has diabetes
- Is an elderly person
- Have reduced immunity due to an existing medical condition
- Is taking certain types of medication
- Has certain viral and fungal infections
- Has a dry mouth
- Is going through hormonal changes
- Has poor nutrition
- Has a substance abuse problem
- Has an ill-fitting dental restoration
Dentists usually diagnose gingivitis based on symptoms and an examination of the teeth, gums, mouth and tongue. The dentist will look for plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth and check the gums for redness, puffiness and easy bleeding. He will then proceed to suggest a treatment for the same.
If the dentist is not sure about what has caused the gingivitis, he may suggest medical evaluation to check for any underlying medical conditions.
As mentioned earlier, the symptoms of gingivitis usually reverse if it is treated at the right time and there is no threat of any serious gum condition. Effective treatment requires professional care followed by stepped up oral hygiene at home.
Professional gingivitis care includes:
- An initial evaluation and thorough dental cleaning to remove all traces of plaque and tartar
- Instruction on effective home brushing and flossing techniques
- Regular professional check-up and cleaning
- Fixing crowns or fillings (dental restorations)