What Is Gingivitis?

This is an early stage of gum disease that is common throughout the world. The World Health Organization estimates 1 in 4 adults has some form of gingivitis, with 15% to 20% developing periodontitis.

What Are the Signs of Gingivitis?

It’s easy to miss the signs of gingivitis. Only 10% of adults who have gum problems are aware of it. If you have puffy, red gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss, you may have gingivitis. There may not be pain associated with gum problems, which is why the signs may be overlooked.

What Causes Gingivitis?

The most common causes are improper oral home care and improper technique. When the daily oral hygiene routine is ineffective, leftover food particles breakdown to sugars, attracting bacteria growth and buildup into a thick film known as plaque. This can lead to tartar and tooth decay over time. That’s why a good daily oral hygiene routine, consisting of brushing, flossing and rinsing, is important.

Can You Prevent Gingivitis?

Getting into a good, solid mouth-cleaning routine that involves brushing and rinsing twice daily, plus daily flossing, can reverse the early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis. Scheduling regular six-month dental checkups is also key to keeping your mouth healthy and clean, as tartar buildup is something only professional tools used at the dentist’s office can remove.

How To Keep Our Gums Healthy

The first step in maintaining healthy gums is to not ignore symptoms that may seem harmless, such as a little blood in the sink when you floss and brush, and/or red or swollen gums. If these symptoms appear, make an appointment to check in with your dentist to identify the cause and to get your teeth and gums assessed. Your dentist may recommend an improved daily home-care regimen for your teeth. If pockets of bacteria have formed around the teeth and gums are beginning to pull away from the teeth, a deep cleaning with your dentist or periodontist (a dentist who specializes in gum disease) may be suggested. The good news is that this early, mild stage of gum disease is preventable. That said, if it goes untreated and ignored, gingivitis can develop into advanced stage gum disease (periodontitis), which is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.