in Golden, CO
Gum disease is prevalent, concerning dental condition that affects millions of people unnecessarily. The infection of gum disease begins with inflammation that we refer to as gingivitis. The process of gum damage starts when bacteria that naturally live in the mouth become overpowering. Bacteria deposit acidic byproducts on teeth and gums, resulting in inflammation, then infection. With the help of your dentist, you can bring gingivitis under control and prevent symptoms from worsening.
How can you prevent Gingivitis?
We all have bacteria in our mouths. Most of the time, these microorganisms are normal and safe. The overgrowth of bacteria, which can happen when oral care is lacking, leads to plaque buildup on teeth and gums. This invisible, sticky film holds bacteria, debris, and acid. If plaque is not removed, it calcifies into a hard tartar film. The key to managing gum disease is to prevent plaque formation. You can do this with simple habits.
- Brush teeth in the morning and before going to bed.
- Floss teeth once a day to remove debris and bacteria from in between teeth.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco use.
- Manage diabetes if you have this chronic medical condition.
- Minimize the consumption of alcohol and sugary foods and beverages.
- Rinse the mouth after meals and snacks.
- See a dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning.
What are the symptoms of Early Gum Disease?
The signs of gingivitis may be so mild that they are missed. It helps to know what to look for so you can catch symptoms right away. As your gums suffer inflammation, you may notice:
- Persistent bad breath, even after you brush your teeth.
- Bleeding gums, particularly when you brush or floss.
- Redness and swelling in the gums.
- Tenderness or pain when you chew.
- Tooth sensitivity, usually too hot or cold foods.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, contact our office. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and how long it has been since your last checkup and cleaning, your dentist may want to see you right away.
How do you treat gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease and is the easiest to treat. With early detection and proper care, it is possible to reverse the damaging effects of out-of-control bacteria. There are a few ways that we may address gingivitis. Treatment depends on the extent of symptoms like gum recession and on the potential for damage to progress quickly. In some cases, a routine cleaning followed by strict at-home care (brushing and flossing) may bring oral health under control. Some patients need a deeper cleaning to remove bacteria from pockets around teeth. This step is necessary to prevent infection from getting worse. Finally, some patients may benefit from The Perio Tray® by Perio Protect. This convenient at-home therapy delivers medication to the gums to reduce inflammation and infection quickly.
How long does it take for gums to heal from gingivitis?
The effects of inflammation may reverse in 10 to 14 days in mild cases of gingivitis. More severe inflammation may take longer depending on the treatment performed and the consistency of home care after treatment. Your daily habits and oral care are critical aspects in healing the gums and keeping them healthy. Your dentist can help you identify potentially damaging foods and beverages and discuss ways to offset their risks.
What foods should you avoid with gingivitis?
Avoiding certain foods is not the answer to resolving gingivitis, nor is it even possible to avoid all foods that can lead to dental plaque. However, limiting certain foods and habits can be helpful. Suggestions include limiting sugary foods and beverages that feed oral bacteria. Acidic foods and beverages, which include soda, energy drinks, and coffee, should also be limited. Because saliva is the primary defender against oral bacteria, it is helpful to avoid foods and habits that can dry out the mouth. While these can vary, common offenders include coffee, alcohol, and smoking.
In addition to minimizing certain foods and drinks, you can consume more of those that support healthy teeth and gums. Examples include crunchy vegetables like celery, which are mildly abrasive and good for naturally cleansing plaque from the mouth.
How is Early Gum Disease diagnosed?
During a dental checkup, our dental team will examine the gums thoroughly and note signs of inflammation if they are found. Dentists also use what is called a “probe,” which is a tiny ruler, to measure pockets around teeth. Each tooth is measured and noted. Healthy pockets are between 1 and 3 millimeters. Anything greater indicates inflammation and the potential for gum recession. This part of the exam is generally very comfortable. These aspects of the dental exam provide an accurate account of gum health and guide the treatment plan, if any, that is needed.
Schedule A Consultation
If you are seeing signs of gingivitis, call (303) 277-9600 to schedule a dental exam and cleaning. Our practice serves patients from Denver, Arvada, Golden, and surrounding areas.