While red, puffy gums might not seem so bad, gingivitis 一 the earliest form of gum disease that causes tender red gums that bleed easily 一 is a warning sign that you shouldn’t ignore. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress to more advanced gum disease, gum recession, and even tooth loss.
The good news? You have the power to take control and reverse gingivitis before it becomes a bigger problem. In this blog, Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, and her team at Dr. Darj Dental in El Paso, Texas, walk you through the basics of gingivitis and how you can act fast to reverse it.
Understanding gingivitis and why swift treatment matters
Gingivitis is no joke — it's the inflammation of your gums caused by the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms constantly, and if you don’t remove it through proper oral hygiene, it can lead to inflammation and infection of your gum tissue. This is where gingivitis comes into the picture.
On its own, gingivitis causes gum discomfort, swelling and redness, and bleeding gums. As it progresses, it can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, tooth loss, jawbone atrophy, and even body-wide complications. Acting fast to treat gingivitis helps you avoid late-stage gum disease and its problems.
Spotting the warning signs of gingivitis
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 46% of adults over age 30 exhibit signs of gum disease. The sooner you spot the warning signs, the sooner you can get the right treatment.
Are your gums swollen, tender, or a darker shade of red? These are early indicators that your gums might be in trouble. Even if they aren’t hurting, don’t delay treatment. Bad breath and gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing can also signal the presence of gingivitis.
Taking action now
Your gums are delicate, and advanced gum disease (called periodontitis) is more difficult to manage, especially if it leads to irreversible complications such as tooth loss.
The good news is that early-stage gingivitis is reversible, and you can take action to prevent it from progressing into periodontitis. Here's what you need to do:
Maintain impeccable oral hygiene
Proper oral hygiene removes plaque, prevents its buildup, and helps keep your gums healthy. So lackadaisical oral care isn’t going to cut it when you're trying to reverse gingivitis — now is the time to ramp up your at-home oral care routine.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Use a soft-bristled brush, hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to effectively clean your gum line, and use toothpaste marked with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Some toothpastes and mouthwashes are especially marketed for gum health. These are antimicrobial products designed to help fight bacteria.
Adopt healthy eating habits
A balanced diet benefits your body and your gums. Limit sugary snacks and beverages because sugar contributes to plaque formation. This helps prevent cavities, too!
Foods rich in vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D are particularly helpful for your oral health. If you can’t get these through your diet, talk with your health care provider about taking supplements.
Schedule regular dental visits
Schedule dental checkups every six months. A professional cleaning removes stubborn plaque and tartar that your regular brushing might miss. Not only do cleanings remove plaque from along your gums, but they also give Dr. Darj a chance to spot any other warning signs of gum disease.
If you smoke, quitting can significantly improve your gum health. Smoking weakens your immune system, and that can make it more difficult for your body to fight off gum infections. If you need help quitting, talk to Dr. Darj or explore the cessation programs hosted by the Texas Department of State Health Services.
We’re here when you need us
By taking swift action, you can reverse early-stage gum disease and maintain a healthy, confident smile. In addition to at-home care, Dr. Darj may also recommend these treatments to help you combat gum disease:
- Antibiotics to clear any oral infections
- Medicated mouthwashes
- Deep cleaning, or scaling and root planing
- Personalized hygiene guidance
Are you concerned about your gum health? You can reverse early-stage gum disease if you act fast. Call Dr. Darj at 915-213-3767 or click here to use online booking.