Gingivitis – Preventable Oral Health Threat

Gingivitis is an oral health threat that is easy to miss in your mirror. But this mild formdr_ford_phoenix_dentist of periodontal disease shouldn’t be ignored. “It’s easy to shrug off gingivitis, but it’s smart to take it seriously,” says Dr. Carol Ford, from her Phoenix dental office. “It starts with red gums, but if you ignore it, it can develop into a serious oral health problem – periodontal disease.” Gingivitis can create inflammation and infection in spaces around the gums. What started as a mild inflammation can lead to tooth loss.

According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, “the most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene that encourages plaque to form.” You can’t see plaque, but it’s dangerous. “Plaque contains bacteria that thrive on the starches and sugars in your mouth,” explains Dr. Ford. “You can remove it by brushing, but it will be back in 24 hours. That’s why brushing after each meal is so important—you break up the plaque and rinse it away.  A simple oral health practice now can save you a lot of trouble later on.”

If you don’t brush, the plaque settles at the base of your teeth. “Within a few days, the plaque turns into a hard deposit–called tartar–under the gumline at the base of your teeth,” Dr. Ford says, “and tartar causes the inflammation that leads to trouble.” The worst part, cautions Dr. Ford, is that “gingivitis usually doesn’t hurt, so it’s easy to ignore.”

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says that some groups are at higher risk for gingivitis:

  • People in poor health or with chronic illness
  • People with poor oral health habits
  • Smokers
  • Pregnant women (hormonal changes can make gums sensitive)
  • Women who take birth control pills
  • People with broken fillings, dentures, or misaligned teeth
  • Uncontrolled diabetics

“Most people can avoid gingivitis,” says Dr. Ford. “Start with a professionally-cleaned mouth. Our hygienists have the right tools and techniques for removing tartar in places you can’t reach.” Once your mouth is clean, brush after each meal, or at least twice daily. Floss daily to removes plaque between the teeth, where your brush can’t reach.”

Gingivitis inflammation is easy to keep at bay with simple and regular oral health practices, but the important thing to remember is regular. Don’t skip brushing or flossing.


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