Stop Gingivitis in Its Tracks

You can stop gingivitis now

You can stop gingivitis in its tracks.

If you are worried about gingivitis and gum disease, and aren’t sure how to stop it, the team at Berrien Dental has some tips on how to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

What is gingivitis?

You’ve probably heard the term a lot, but what is gingivitis? It is the early stages of gum disease, which is also known as periodontal disease. Gingivitis is an infection of the gums, or the tissues surrounding your teeth. Often, plaque buildup is a cause of gingivitis.

What are the symptoms of gingivitis?

The main sign that you might have gingivitis is if you have sensitive gums that bleed easy, especially when you brush your teeth. Your gums may also be red and swollen, and in some cases, if you have constant bad breath, or halitosis, you could have gingivitis.

What causes gingivitis?

There are many factors that go into the development of gingivitis. The main factor is having a poor oral hygiene routine. If gingivitis is caught early, it can be reversible, which is why dentists recommend a thorough brushing at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes, followed by routine flossing.

Other factors of gingivitis include genetics and crooked teeth, which can be more difficult to clean. Pregnancy and diabetes can also be factors of gingivitis, as well as smoking and tobacco use. There are also some medications that have been linked to gingivitis. If you are concerned that a medication you are taking is affecting your dental health, you should bring up your concerns with your doctor and/or dentist.

Is gingivitis reversible?

Gingivitis is often painless, meaning you may not know you have the early stages of gum disease. That is why it is so important to get regular dental evaluations so your dentist can monitor the health of your teeth and gums.

If your dentist has diagnosed you with gingivitis, there is good news. It can be reversed! A professional cleaning by your dentist can help remove any plaque buildup on your teeth, which is the cause of gingivitis. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease, which is much harder to cure, and may not be reversible. If your gingivitis turns into periodontal disease, it can lead to other oral health issues.

But you also need to do your part. You need to have a rigorous oral health care routine of your own to keep plaque and gingivitis away. That includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day or a minimum of two minutes each time, and using an American Dental Association, or ADA, approved toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride is a natural occurring mineral that helps to strengthen the enamel on your teeth. You also need to floss daily.

The Proper Way to Floss

If you are looking to keep gingivitis away, or just keep your teeth in tip top shape, you should be flossing after every time you brush your teeth. But what is the proper way to floss?

First, break off a piece of dental floss that is about 18-inches long. Wrap most of the floss around one of your middle fingers, then wrap just a small amount of floss around the other middle finger of the opposite hand. The finger that has the least amount of floss will end up taking up the used floss as you floss your teeth.

Holding the floss taught between your thumb and index finger, gently guide the floss between your teeth. Using a gentle rubbing motion, guide the floss up and down each side of the tooth. Don’t forget to curve the floss around the tooth in a C-shape as it hits the gum line. Rub floss around each side of your tooth to scrape away any built up plaque. Once you are done with two adjacent teeth, slide the floss out and wind the floss down your fingers to get a clean piece, then repeat the process for each and every tooth in your mouth.

If you are just starting out with flossing, your gums may bleed because they are irritated. Be gentle with the process of flossing, because you don’t want to cause any unintentional damage to your gums.

If a traditional piece of dental floss doesn’t work well for you to floss your teeth, you can try a dental floss pick, or even a waterpik. If you are unsure what will work best, talk with the team at Berrien Dental, who can recommend the best method for flossing your teeth, and who are even willing to show you some tips and tricks to make flossing easier and part of your daily dental routine.

Keep your mouth healthy with regular checkups with your dentist. 

You can have the best oral health regime, but this doesn’t mean you can skip out on your six-monthly checkup with your dentist in St. Joseph or Berrien Springs, MI. Regular checkups are the best way to catch early signs of gum disease and discuss ways your at-home dental routine can support the health of your teeth and gums. If you’re due for a dental checkup and cleaning, schedule an appointment with the team at Berrien Dental. We’ll keep you smiling!

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