Considered the earliest form of gum disease, gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. At this stage, signs usually include redness, swelling, and slight bleeding when you brush. Gingivitis occurs because of plaque, the sticky film that constantly develops on teeth and gums.
When plaque builds ups, toxins are produced, which irritate your gums and produce gingivitis. With gum disease, pockets of infection form and your gums may pull away from your teeth. Because gingivitis is gum disease in the early stages, the damage can still be reversed. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, causing permanent problems such as gum recession and even tooth loss.
Because gum disease often presents with mild symptoms initially, many people don’t realize they have a problem. Conservative estimates suggest that 80 percent of adults in the United States have some level of gum disease. Not only can gum disease wreak havoc on your mouth, but it has also been linked to more serious health issues, like heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and diabetes complications.
One of the ways to prevent gingivitis is good oral health care. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly will remove plaque and keep teeth in top shape. Another important component of dental care is regular checkups. Routine cleaning remove tartar, hardened plaque, from your teeth. As well, these appointments allow your dentist to look for signs of trouble and address any issue before they get out of hand. Making healthy choice in your diet and avoiding tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption will also decrease your odds of developing gingivitis or gum disease.