There’s a common misconception that good oral hygiene simply entails taking proper care of your teeth. Family dentist Dr. Tamatha C. Pantano, DMD stresses, however, that a healthy mouth also involves keeping your gums in the pink of health.
Neglecting the health of your gums is a recipe for disaster. As such, it’s to everyone’s benefit to familiarize themselves with the stages that lead to gingivitis, a gum disease which if left untreated can have severe implications.
1. Early indications of gum problems
Typically, the first sign that your gums are in trouble is inflammation. This is characterized by swelling, tenderness, or bleeding in your gums. Gums may also turn reddish and have an inflamed appearance. These changes can be accompanied by pain, though some may be able to bear or even ignore the discomfort. Regardless of how much pain you experience, these symptoms should never be ignored, so if they do manifest, go to a dentist as soon as you can.
Gum inflammation, or gingivitis in medical parlance, is often caused by the absence of proper oral hygiene. Neglecting regular brushing and flossing results in plaque accumulating on your teeth which, if left unchecked, can result in gum infection. Other factors that can contribute to plaque buildup include hormonal issues, family history, and even certain medications. A dentist treats gingivitis through dental descaling—a process that eliminates the plaque, thus allowing your gums to heal.
If untreated, gingivitis can become a more serious condition known as periodontitis. Essentially, inflammation impels the gum to draw back from the tooth, creating a pocket of space between them. Bacteria then find their way into this pocket, leading to infection and, consequently, serious health concerns. While periodontitis is treatable, it’s also preventable if gum problems are addressed early.
Regular dental examinations should ensure gums stay healthy. Having gum pain certainly can spoil your day, but it can get much worse if you neglect going to your dentist for a checkup.
It’s also crucial that you observe proper oral healthcare at home. So make it a point to brush before breakfast and before bedtime every day, floss at least once daily, rinse your mouth with mouthwash, and limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks.