Andreacola Family Dentistry
Lynn M. Andreacola, D.M.D.
General, Cosmetic and Family Dentist located in Marlton, NJ
Are your gums swollen and irritated? You may have gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. Even though gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, it’s important to address it immediately. Left untreated, it can progress into a more severe form of gum disease that leads to tooth loss. If you think you have gingivitis, call Lynn M. Andreacola, DMD, and her team at Andreacola Family Dentistry in Marlton, New Jersey, or make an appointment online.
Gingivitis Q & A
What is gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Symptoms include red, puffy, irritated gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth. Sometimes gingivitis can cause bad breath. Gum disease is very common. In fact, three-quarters of adults have gingivitis at some point in their life. But the good news is that gingivitis is simple to prevent and treat with good oral hygiene practices.
What causes gingivitis?
Plaque buildup on your teeth causes gingivitis. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth when starches and sugars in food interact with the bacteria in your mouth. Good oral hygiene practices -- brushing at least twice a day and daily flossing -- can help rid your mouth of plaque buildup.
But if you don’t remove the plaque, it hardens into tartar, which is more difficult to remove. Only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar with a professional teeth cleaning.
Risk factors that can increase your chances of developing gingivitis include:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy or a woman’s menstrual cycle
- Dry mouth
- Certain medications
- Poor nutrition
- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer
- Ill-fitting dental restorations, such as crowns or bridges
How can I prevent and treat gingivitis?
The steps to prevent gingivitis are the same ones you’d take after being diagnosed with gingivitis. Steps to help prevent gingivitis, stop it from progressing, and restore gum health include:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes
- Use a soft toothbrush and replace it every three months
- Floss daily!
- Use a plaque-reducing mouthwash
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
- Have a professional dental cleaning as soon as possible
- Schedule regular professional cleanings as often as Dr. Andreacola recommends
If your gingivitis is caused by misaligned teeth, poorly fitting crowns, or some other type of restoration, Dr. Andreacola can fix the problems so they’re not irritating your gums and preventing you from brushing away plaque. It’s important to treat gingivitis so it doesn’t progress to periodontal disease, a more serious form of gum disease that is not as easily treated.
If your gums are sensitive or they bleed when you brush, call Andreacola Family Dentistry or make an appointment online.