Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums (gingiva). It commonly occurs because of films of bacteria that accumulate on the teeth – plaque; this type is called plaque-induced gingivitis
What are the signs and symptoms of gingivitis?
A symptom that a patient can experiment could be painful gums, a sign is something everybody, including the doctor or nurse can see, such as swelling.
In mild cases of gingivitis there may be no discomfort or noticeable symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis may include:
- Gums are bright red or purple
- Gums are tender, and sometimes painful to the touch
- Gums bleed easily when brushing teeth or flossing
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Inflammation (swollen gums)
- Receding gums
- Soft gums
Is very important to have good habits, having regular dental cleanings, help too. Don’t let the time pass before it’s too late for your oral health.
A dentist or oral hygienist checks for gingivitis symptoms, such as plaque and tartar in the oral cavity. A checking for signs of periodontitis may also be recommended; this may be done by X-ray or periodontal probing.
What are the treatment options for gingivitis?
If the patient is diagnosed early on, and treatment is prompt and proper, gingivitis can be successfully reversed.
Treatment involves care by a dental professional, and follow-up procedures carried out by the patient at home.
Gingivitis care with a dental professional:
- Plaque and tartar are removed. This is known as scaling. Some patients may find scaling uncomfortable, especially if tartar build-up is extensive, or the gums are very sensitive.
- The dental professional explains to the patient the importance of oral hygiene, and how to effectively brush his/her teeth, as well as flossing.
- Periodically following-up on the patient, with further cleaning if necessary.
- Fixing teeth so that oral hygiene can be done effectively. Some dental problems, such as crooked teeth, badly fitted crowns or bridges, may make it harder to properly remove plaque and tartar (they may also irritate the gums).
What the patient can do at home:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day
- Bear in mind that in most cases, electric toothbrushes do a better job than we can do on our own.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day.
- Regularly rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash. Ask your dentist to recommend one.
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Adapted from: What is gingivitis? in http://www.medicalnewstoday.com