brushing teeth and looking in mirror

How Much Do You Really Know About Gum Disease?

We’ve all heard of gingivitis. It’s always talked about in toothpaste ads, and we know that we don’t want it. But how often do you think about it? Do you know what is actually is—or how to prevent it? A lot of people don’t, which is unfortunate, since gingivitis is a gum disease that can literally cause your teeth to fall out. At Infinite Wellness Dental, we provide preventative gingivitis treatment, but it’s also good to understand why it happens.

Gingivitis is the name for the gums becoming inflamed when food gets trapped inside of them, or when tartar (hardened plaque) gets inside of them. Here’s a little bit more detail about that:

Sulcus Entrapment

There’s a little space between your teeth and your gums known as a sulcus. Food can become trapped in this space, which can lead to a gum infection or gingivitis. This is why flossing is very important as well as mindful brushing.

Plaque Buildup

Plaque is a thin layer of bacteria that lives on everyone’s teeth. It never stops forming, and when you aren’t practicing proper oral care, this plaque builds up and advances, turning into tartar. Gingivitis can develop when tartar extends below your gum line. This is why brushing regularly is crucial, as well as brushing in the “plaque trap” areas, like between your teeth.

As you can see, our gums really hate it when things become trapped inside of them. Trapped food, plaque, or other things can cause your gums to swell, bleed, turn red or purple, cause teeth to loosen, or be extremely painful.

You can see even more symptoms of gum disease in this video:

While the best way to prevent gum disease is to brush your teeth very carefully and thoroughly (and remembering to floss), there are other things you can avoid that are risk factors. These risk factors help gingivitis become much worse. They include:

  • Smoking
  • Not correcting broken fillings
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Tooth-brushing that is too rough
  • Certain oral medications (see below)

The oral medications can include things like antacids, which have a combination of being sugary, chewy, and cause dry mouth. Antidepressants are also culprits for gum disease, since they have been shown to cause bone metabolism loss. Dry mouth is a gum disease trigger, since saliva helps wash away food remnants. Many oral medications cause dry mouth, which heightens the risk of gingivitis. Some of these medications include antihistamines, decongestants, and pain meds.

There are also things that can help gingivitis progress that you can’t always control. These things include:

  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics
  • Compromised immunity
  • Osteoporosis

As mentioned before, at Infinite Dental Wellness, we provide gingivitis treatments. However, you can begin preventing gum disease now, by taking proper care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss. Don’t allow plaque build-up. Regular checkups with your dentist are also extremely important in order to keep a close eye on any potential signs of gum disease. If you’ve been experiencing swollen or irritated gums, gums that bleed when you brush or floss, or a change in the color of your gums, schedule a checkup with us at Infinite Dental Wellness today!