When you brush or floss, do you ever see pink in the sink? It could be a sign that you have gingivitis. Gingivitis occurs in 3 out of 4 of Americans during their lifetime1, but don’t worry, with proper dental care early it’s easily reversed. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that happens when plaque, a naturally-occurring sticky film containing bacteria, builds up on teeth and gums. Plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums. This can cause the gums to become inflamed, making them red or puffy, or causing them to bleed.
While gingivitis is often a result of poor oral care habits, (for example, not brushing thoroughly for 2 minutes, twice a day, or frequently skipping flossing) other factors can increase your risk.
Gingivitis is often painless, so you may not necessarily feel sore gums, but be on the lookout for these other signs or symptoms. Along with monitoring your mouth for these signs and symptoms, be sure to visit your dentist and hygienist regularly. It may not seem like a big deal, but if gingivitis isn’t taken care of, it can sometimes progress to a more severe form of gum disease, called periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause lasting damage to your teeth and the bones that support them. It’s actually the leading cause of tooth loss.
The good news is that gingivitis can usually be reversed with the help of your dentist and hygienist and improvements in your personal oral hygiene. Your dental care team can recommend changes to your oral hygiene routine for both gingivitis treatment and gingivitis prevention. Together, your dentist, hygienist and Crest want to help you achieve a mouth that’s free of gingivitis. Remember that your teeth were meant to last you a lifetime, but you have to take good care of them to ensure they do.
Gingivitis happens when plaque, a naturally-occurring sticky film containing bacteria, builds up on teeth and gums. Plaque produces toxins that irritate the gums. This can cause you to have inflamed gums, making them red or puffy, or causing them to bleed. Gingivitis is number one among the causes of bleeding gums in adults. These are key signs and symptoms you should be looking for when you brush. Remember, bleeding gums aren’t normal.
Since eliminating plaque is critical in preventing gingivitis, remember to use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste and mouthwash, and focus on a great oral health routine that includes brushing for 2 minutes twice a day, and flossing at least once a day. Other factors though might increase your risk of gingivitis. If some of these factors listed below apply to you, pay extra attention and talk to your dentist and hygienist at your next visit.
- Smoking/tobacco use is one of the greatest risk factors associated with gum disease and can lower the chances for successful treatment. Smokers are 2x more likely to get gum disease than non-smokers2
- Stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight infection, including gum disease
- Hormonal changes in women during pregnancy, menstruation, and menopause make gums more sensitive and more prone to inflammation
- Poor nutrition deprives the body of important nutrients and makes it more difficult for the body to fight infection, including gum disease
- Medications for many conditions can affect oral health. Tell your dentist or hygienist if you take any prescription or over-the-counter medications
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, and HIV, impair the body’s ability to fight infection, including gum disease. Tell your dentist and hygienist if you have any medical conditions
Fortunately, gingivitis can usually be reversed with the help of your dentist, hygienist, Crest anti-gingivitis oral care products, and improvements in your personal oral hygiene.
Because gingivitis doesn’t often cause pain, many people don’t know they have it. In fact, as many as 75% of all Americans will experience some degree of gingivitis during their lifetime.1 That’s why it’s important not only to know what to look for, but also to see your dentist and hygienist regularly for cleanings and checkups.Here are some gingivitis symptoms to watch out for:
- Red, puffy gums
o Remember, bleeding gums are not norma
- Bleeding gums, especially when you brush or floss
- Sore gums that won’t go away
- Tooth pain or sensitivity. When gums pull away from teeth, teeth are more exposed and sensitive to hot and cold foods or beverages
- Bad breath that won’t go away. Plaque contains millions of bacteria that produce foul-smelling waste products
- Loose teeth or changes in the way your teeth fit when you bite down. This could be an advanced gum disease, called periodontitis
Gingivitis is treatable and preventable. If you have gingivitis or think you might have gingivitis, we understand this might be a scary thought. Please know that this is treatable with the partnership of your dentist, hygienist and Crest. We’ve outlined key areas to look for to get the best anti-gingivitis toothpaste and best anti-gingivitis mouthwash.
Treating and preventing gingivitis is all about eliminating as much plaque from your teeth and gums as possible. There are some key signs or symptoms to look for with gingivitis, like bleeding or swollen gums. The best way to treat it is to catch it early. Make a dental appointment as soon as possible. Your hygienist will remove plaque or tartar (plaque that has hardened) from your teeth with special tools. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional, so using oral care items rated for plaque removal helps reduce the amount of tartar needing removal during your dental visit.
Then it’s up to you to stick to consistent gingivitis home treatment. This includes removing plaque in 2 ways— using a toothpaste and mouthwash with FDA approved anti-bacterial agents along with physical removal via a toothbrush and floss. Your dentist may also add a prescription gingivitis treatment to your routine. If your dentist or hygienist recommends a prescription gingivitis treatment like chlorhexidine mouthwash, be sure to ask if Crest PRO-HEALTH® [HD] might be a good fit. It’s clinically proven to be as effective as this mouthwash and you can pick it up anytime without a prescription.
Here are some important details to remember to help prevent gingivitis from returning:
- Use an anti-gingivitis toothpaste.
- Brush your teeth and gums for at least 2 minutes, at least 2 times a day
- Floss at least once a day. Floss between teeth and below the gumline to remove gingivitis-causing plaque
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months. Worn-out bristles remove less plaque
- If you have sore gums after flossing or brushing, or notice bleeding, don’t stop brushing or flossing. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles so you don’t hurt your gums.
- Check your gums in the mirror often for changes in colour or texture.
- Cut back on foods that are high in sugar. Sugar promotes the growth of gingivitis-causing plaque
Because periodontitis can cause lasting damage, it’s extremely important to catch gingivitis early with the help of your dentist and hygienist and improvements in your personal oral hygiene.