Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. When left untreated, gum disease progressively worsens and can permanently damage your teeth and gums. Advanced periodontitis (the final stage of gum disease) can result in tooth loss.
The good news is that gingivitis is preventable. When caught and treated early, it can be treated without causing permanent damage to your teeth and gums.
With an office in The Woodlands, Texas, Scott Young, DDS, provides dental services for the greater Houston region, including the communities of Highland Village, West University, River Oaks, Rice Village, and Memorial.
Signs and symptoms of gingivitis
A common symptom of gingivitis is bleeding from your gums when brushing and flossing.
Gingivitis is caused by inflammation of your gum tissue, so they may also look red and swollen.
Other symptoms include:
- Bad breath
- Gum recession
- Tooth sensitivity (to hot or cold)
If you notice any signs of gingivitis, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. When treated early, gingivitis can be reversed before permanent damage to your gums occurs.
Risk factors for developing gingivitis and gum disease
Several factors contribute to the risk of developing gingivitis and gum disease. Plaque and tartar buildup is a significant cause.
Therefore, poor oral hygiene and smoking are the main risk factors for developing gum disease. If you smoke or use tobacco products, it can also make dental treatments less effective.
Other factors that contribute to gingivitis and gum disease include:
- Poor diet
- Genetics and family history
- Hormonal changes
- Compromised immune system
- Being male
- Damaged or poorly fitting dental restorations
- Taking certain types of medication
- Sex (gum disease tends to be more common in men)
Understanding your risk for gum disease and knowing the symptoms to look for is key to protecting your teeth and gums, especially as you age.
How to lower your risk for gingivitis symptoms
If it’s been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Plaque and tartar buildup can only be removed by your dentist, and regular dental exams are essential for monitoring your gum health.
Optimal oral hygiene prevents gingivitis. Brush your teeth after meals and floss at least once daily. Change your toothbrush every few months or as soon as the bristles become bent or wilted.
If you notice any new or persistent symptoms of gum disease or anything out of the ordinary, contact us and schedule an appointment. You don’t have to wait until your next visit if new or persistent symptoms develop.
For more information about gingivitis and gum disease prevention and treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists in the greater Houston area.