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What is Gingivitis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Top view close up of attractive woman lying in chair while dentist is cleaning her teeth

Do you have a toothache that won’t let up? Do you get a metallic taste when you brush your teeth? Well, you may have Gingivitis…

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums. It is the earliest stage of gum disease.

Gingivitis is far from a joking matter – if left untreated, can progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss. 

But don’t worry—there are ways you can fight off this invader before it starts doing some real damage!

The primary cause of gingivitis is the buildup of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth and gums. When plaque is not removed through regular brushing and flossing, it hardens into tartar and can lead to inflammation of the gums.

Other factors that can contribute to the development of gingivitis include:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills and blood pressure medication
  • Medical conditions such as diabetes, which can make it harder for the body to fight off infection
  • Genetic predisposition

The signs of gingivitis can vary from person to person, but some common signs to look out for include:

  • Red, swollen gums that are tender or bleed easily when brushed or flossed
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth
  • Chronic bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • Gums that appear shiny or glossy
  • A change in the way the teeth fit together when biting

But here’s the tricky thing, a lot of people with gingivitis may not experience any pain or discomfort, so it’s important to have regular dental check-ups to detect and treat gingivitis early.

The Australian Dental Association noted that nearly 3 in 10 Australians have been affected by gingivitis. So, if you notice any signs of gingivitis, it is important to schedule an appointment with us in Geelong as soon as possible to prevent further progression.

young happy woman looking her teeth in a mirror afar from her dentist looking at her

Your Geelong dentists and oral health therapists can diagnose and treat gum disease by cleaning your teeth and gums to remove plaque and tartar, and by providing instructions on proper oral hygiene techniques. 

We may also prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash or recommend a referral to a periodontist for specialised treatment.

The amount of time it takes to get rid of gingivitis can vary depending on the severity of the condition, as well as the individual’s overall health and the effectiveness of their treatment plan.

If the disease is caught early, it may be possible to reverse the damage and return the gums to a healthy state through regular teeth cleaning and improved oral hygiene practices. This can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

If it has progressed to a more advanced stage, it may take longer to treat. A deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing may be required to remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line. This process can take several weeks to a few months depending on the severity of the case.

It’s also important to note that gingivitis is a preventable condition, so it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene and visit us regularly to prevent it from developing in the first place.

Preventing gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, can be achieved through good oral hygiene practices and regular dental check-ups. Some ways to prevent gingivitis include:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Clean between your teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner
  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash to help kill bacteria
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco products
White woman with healthy teeth and gums smiling

Gingivitis is a common yet serious condition that affects many Australians. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene are essential in preventing and treating it. At Dental Hub Geelong, we’re here to help you maintain a healthy smile. Give us a call on (03) 4224 0066 or schedule an appointment with us today to keep gingivitis at bay.

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