You might have heard the words “gingivitis,” “periodontitis,” and “gum disease,” but you might not know what the difference is between them. Both periodontitis and gingivitis are forms of gum disease. Gingivitis is the earliest stage of the disease. Left untreated, it is likely to develop into periodontitis and lead to devastating consequences for your oral and overall health. On this page, we’ll talk more about gingivitis, how you can recognize its symptoms, and how Dr. Nicosia, a periodontist in Houston, can help you fight it.
Why Choose Patrick V. Nicosia for Gingivitis Treatment?
- Decades of experience in periodontics
- Gentle treatment tailored to your needs
- Ongoing periodontal maintenance available
How Gingivitis Develops
Gingivitis occurs when bacteria sneak beneath the gum line and cause swelling and inflammation. At this point, the gum disease is still relatively minor and has not caused any permanent damage to either the gums or the bones beneath them.
Poor oral hygiene is the most common culprit behind gingivitis. A lack of proper brushing and flossing allows bacteria and plaque to accumulate on the teeth. That plaque eventually hardens into tartar, which is impossible to remove with a regular toothbrush. The tartar keeps the bacteria trapped beneath the gum line, giving it ample opportunity to attack the surrounding tissue.
How to Recognize Gingivitis
Some of the primary symptoms of gingivitis include:
- Swollen, puffy gums
- Dark red or dusky-looking gums
- Gums that bleed easily when you brush or floss
- Tender gums
- Persistent bad breath
Anyone can develop gingivitis, but you should be especially alert to possible signs of gingivitis if you are at an increased risk of developing it. Some significant risk factors of gum disease include:
- Older age. According to the CDC, roughly 2 out of 3 adults age 65 and older have a form of gum disease.
- Diabetes affects the body’s ability to fight infections.
- Hormonal fluctuations can increase your vulnerability to gum disease.
- Misaligned teeth. Crooked, overcrowded teeth are more likely to trap harmful bacteria between them.
If you suspect you have gingivitis, seek professional help as soon as possible. A few adjustments to your oral hygiene routine, as well as conservative treatment from a periodontist, might be all it takes to reverse your condition. A deep dental cleaning (a process known as scaling and root planing) is a common method for addressing gingivitis. After you receive initial treatment for gingivitis, you must be diligent about maintaining your gum health. Regular periodontal maintenance appointments with Dr. Nicosia, which typically happen every few months, may be advisable.
On the other hand, if you delay treatment, your gingivitis could become periodontitis, which is characterized by the permanent damage that it causes to gums and bones. It can also increase your risk of a number of serous health complications, including heart attack, stroke, and preterm birth.
Would you like to learn more about gingivitis and how to fight it? Contact Dr. Nicosia’s office today.