In the first installment of our Healthy Body, Healthy Mouth series, we discussed the connection between practicing good oral hygiene and the role it plays in overall health. Now it’s time to examine and understand gingivitis to show how treating it helps the health of your mouth and body and prevents periodontitis.
Gingivitis is a condition where the bacteria present in plaque irritates the gums causing bleeding, redness, and tenderness. These mouth issues can also indicate other underlying health conditions so it’s important not to ignore them. Gingivitis is a form of periodontal (gum) disease and when untreated, can lead to increasingly serious forms of gum disease. Reversing gingivitis in its early stages involves practicing good oral hygiene such as brushing twice daily, using mouthwash, flossing daily, and having regular dental visits that include a professional cleaning.
If gingivitis goes untreated, it can develop into periodontitis, which is an infection in the spaces between the gums and teeth. Because periodontitis isn’t usually painful, patients might ignore it, but this is a mistake as it damages the attachment of the gums and bone to the teeth. Without treatment, periodontitis teeth can become loose, fall out, and/or require extraction.
Signs to watch for
Gingivitis and gum disease develop gradually and when you know the signs, it’s easy to address any problems quickly. When you notice any of the following signs, consult your dental professional for the best treatment options.
- Unhealthy gums – Gums that are swollen, red, tender, and bleed during flossing and brushing
- Problems between gums – Pus between teeth and gums or gums pulling away from teeth
- Mouth changes – Separating or loose teeth, change in bite, and/or a change in denture fit
Along with practicing good oral hygiene, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle improves the health of your teeth, gums, and entire body. Remember that everything in your body is connected and that deteriorating oral health can lead to or be a sign of other diseases including diabetes and heart disease. Take the first step toward a healthy mouth and body by scheduling an appointment with us.