Are you concerned about your dental and gum health? Learn how to prevent gingivitis.
DEVELOPMENT OF GINGIVITIS
The two main conditions that affect the gums are gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that can occur at any age. Often due to insufficient oral hygiene measures, gingivitis can also be promoted and caused by other factors. It develops slowly and painlessly.
Gingivitis is usually the result of an accumulation of dental plaque. Plaque forms gradually from food debris, which bacteria in the mouth feed on. Over time, it turns into a type of coating that covers the surface of the tooth and later hardens and becomes tartar. The presence of tartar where the gums and teeth meet causes an inflammatory reaction—called gingivitis.
Untreated gingivitis can develop into another gum disease called periodontitis, which is caused by bacteria that gradually damage tissue that connects the teeth to the gums. Over time, this degradation weakens the bone tissue that supports the teeth and they become loose and eventually fall out, among other complications.
Fortunately, it is possible to prevent gingivitis or easily treat it, especially if it is detected early.
SYMPTOMS OF GINGIVITIS
Gingivitis often goes unnoticed at first, but symptoms can appear over time, such as:
- bleeding gums, especially during brushing
- sensitive, red or swollen gums
- loosening of the teeth
- bad breath
INDIVIDUALS AT RISK OF GINGIVITIS
Although no one is immune to this type of issue, here are some factors that predispose a person to gingivitis:
- excessive alcohol consumption
- hormonal changes (i.e. puberty, pregnancy, menopause)
PREVENTION OF GINGIVITIS
Here is some advice intended to prevent gingivitis and to maintain your oral health.
- Quit smoking.
- Adopt healthy food habits.
- Choose a diet that is low in sugar and high in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are found in foods like nuts and fish.
- Brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day, using soft-bristled toothbrush and sodium fluoride toothpaste.
- Use antiseptic mouthwash daily.
- Look for the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) seal on the oral care products you buy. Some of them are recognized by the CDA for helping to protect against cavities, plaque, and gingivitis.
- Use dental floss every day.
- If you are diabetic, manage your blood glucose well.
- Examine your mouth and check for any signs of irregularities.
- Visit your dentist regularly, ideally once or twice a year.
Your oral health professional can provide you with additional information about gingivitis. Remember that your pharmacist is always available to answer any of your health-related questions.