5 Proven Ways to Stop Gingivitis in Its Tracks
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease, is common, silent, and reversible in the beginning stages. When we break down the word gingivitis, “gingiva” means gums and “itis” means inflammation—so gingivitis simply means, “inflammation of the gums.” Most commonly, this inflammation is caused by plaque.
Dental plaque is a mixture of food, bacteria, and the acids those bacteria excrete. In addition to eroding and destroying your teeth, the plaque builds up right under the gumline, irritating the tissue. This irritation can cause bleeding, and if you have any bleeding at all, that’s a sign of an infection.
Gingivitis can also cause a change in the color of your gums because of the irritation. Healthy gums are firm and light pink, while infected gums tend to be soft and red. Some people experience pain, but many do not, which sometimes keeps them from taking proactive measures.
Gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, which isn’t reversible.
If the infection isn’t curbed, gingivitis can develop into a much more serious form of gum disease: periodontitis. Periodontitis causes irreversible damage to the bone and surrounding tooth structure, eventually causing tooth loss and even affecting your systemic health. Once gum disease has reached the beginning stages of periodontitis, periodontal therapy is necessary to stop it from progressing any further.
The good news is that you can turn gum disease around before it reaches the stage of periodontitis. You can reverse the damage and heal your gums. Here are 5 remedies for gingivitis that everyone should know about.
1. Brush and floss correctly.
One of the most important (yet the most simple) remedies for staying ahead of gingivitis is to brush and floss your teeth properly. By brushing and flossing correctly, you can keep plaque from making a home in your mouth. Brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes, and pay close attention to your gum line. Floss at least once a day. If you’re having trouble with getting the floss between your teeth, try using waxed floss.
You can ask the team at Dallas Cosmetic Dental if you’re missing any areas and for tips on improving your brushing and flossing techniques.
2. Invest in tools for better oral hygiene.
In addition to flossing, you can use an interdental brush or waterpik to clean in between your teeth and around the gum line. A waterpik works by using a stream of water to remove food particles and harmful bacteria that contribute to gum disease. Interdental brushes are also useful—they come in different sizes and help to prevent gum disease by getting rid of the small bits of food between your teeth.
You can also consider swishing with an antibacterial mouthwash—one that’s especially designed to fight gingivitis—as something to add to your oral routine.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
Vitamin C strengthens your immune system and is necessary for collagen formation. When you’re not getting enough vitamin C, it can cause your gums to bleed. Eat foods high in vitamin C and rich in nutrients to keep your teeth strong and your gums healthy and firm. A healthy diet is one of the essential remedies for gingivitis.
Omega 3s are also essential for gum health. Some foods high in omega 3 include nuts, seeds, and salmon, cod liver oil, anchovies, clams, and mackerel.
4. Address other possible underlying causes.
There can be many factors that play into the development of gum disease. Medical conditions, especially conditions that cause dry mouth, can cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. Your saliva plays a key role in your gum health, keeping the balance of microbes and bacteria in check.
If you smoke, quit. Quit all tobacco products. Oxygen is essential in the healing of infected tissue, and smoking causes a lack of oxygen in your bloodstream. People who use tobacco are twice as likely to have some form of gum disease than those who do not use tobacco.
Other gingivitis factors include certain medications, having crooked teeth that are hard to clean correctly, and, for women, hormonal changes, such as those associated with pregnancy. It’s always best to check with your dentist if you are concerned about something contributing to gum concerns.
5. Visit your dentist regularly.
Professional, regular cleanings at your dentist’s office are imperative to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth. At Dallas Cosmetic Dental, we have the tools and experience to keep your whole mouth healthy. Don’t skip your dental appointments.
In addition to seeing your dentist regularly, it’s vital that you reach out as soon as symptoms appear. Waiting only increases the risk of gingivitis progressing into periodontitis.
If you’re in Dallas, Texas, and looking for the best cosmetic dental service, reach out to us for an appointment. We are here to help you combat gingivitis and keep your mouth and gums in excellent shape.